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Wilton House, the home of Herbert'' s kinsman, the Earl of Pem- 
broke, a mile distant from Bemerton Rectory. See Vol. I, p. 39. 


(gjeorge ^E^erbert 









NO. / ^^ 










Wilton House frontispiece 

Herbert's Subscription at Institution page 6 

Herbert's Subscription at Ordination 64 

Rectory at Bemerton 74 

Garden and River at Bemerton 168 



WITH this Group begins the last and briefest 
period of Herbert's life, a period remark- 
able for its productivity. It extends from his com- 
ing to Bemerton in 1630 to his death in 1633. In it 
The Country Parson was written and most of 
the eighty-six poems which here follow. No poem 
printed in Groups VII-XI is found in the Williams 
Manuscript, which I have elsewhere shown to have 
been probably drawn up about 1628. Some of 
these poems may proceed from the last years of 
the Crisis, but as they contain no reference to the 
struggle there described, I have not included them 
in that Group. Some, especially among those 
printed under the heading Bemerton Study, were 
probably wntten at least in part during the Cam- 
bridge years, and then, either by accident or de- 
sign, were not copied into the manuscript lent to 
Ferrar in 1627-9. But substantially the poems of 
these five Groups are Bemerton poems. Their 
omission from the Williams Manuscript is prima 
facie evidence of date. Nearly all of them, outside 
Group VIII, contain allusions to the priestly 
character of the writer. Emotional depth and 
individual experience will be found in them to 
a degree unknown in the Cambridge period, and 


they very generally look back to a past different 
from that in which their author is now living. 

The beginning of the Bemerton life brought to 
Herbert a joyful sense of attainment. The hopes 
of many years seemed now about to be realized. 
The great deed was done. He was no longer cum- 
bered with political, social, or scholarly ties. He 
and God were to be alone, and his one interest 
henceforth was to be the priestly office. He set 
himself with characteristic energy to search out all 
the subtle significance which his present tasks 
might contain. His Ufe should be as intellectually 
ordered, as coherent, as beautiful, as compact with 
rich suggestion, as his verse had been before. He 
codified his work ; he studied from day to day 
what were the best ways of performing each petty 
portion of his stately office. 

Walton gives a long account of Herbert's elabo- 
rate rationalization of the English ritual. This ac- 
count is on its face open to doubt. How much of 
it proceeds from Herbert's mind, and how much 
from Walton's, is not clear. Walton had no ac- 
quaintance with Herbert, and this argumentative 
piece of history was written long after Herbert's 
death. Walton's Life, like that by Oley, was ob- 
viously intended to serve the useful purpose of an 
Anti-Puritan tract. But after all deductions, the 
argumentation seems well in keeping with Her- 
bert's general temper. It is ever his way to make 
the most of what he finds at hand. He asks few 


ultimate questions, but turns all that tradition 
hands down to him into something rich and mean- 
ingful. Throughout this account he justifies the 
services of his Church because of their reasonable- 
ness, and not because they are authoritatively pre- 
scribed; and this is his method in his poems and 
The Country Parson. There, as here, he grounds 
the practices of the collective Church on the needs 
of the individual soul. On the whole, then, I be- 
lieve Walton's pages on ritual may be accepted as 
a fair account of Herbert's disposition during the 
Bemerton years. He tried to bring into action and 
fill with ingenious, independent, and reverent in- 
telhgence all the resources of his little world. By 
this poetic development of ritual he sought to do 
for his people what he was at the same time doing 
for himself in The Country Parson. He "made 
it appear to them that the whole Service of the 
Church was a reasonable, and therefore an accept- 
able. Sacrifice to God." Always to his mind the 
way to render Kfe glorious was to stuff every por- 
tion of it with thought, and delightedly to detect 
compacted reason where the dull mind contents 
itself with seeing only plain fact. 

The present Group of poems is the expression of 
exuberant joy in at last reaching a long hoped for 
good. Few other Groups have so lyric a quality. 
After some study of the conditions of the priest- 
hood, he sees that these are all summed up in the 
priest's abandonment of everything that can be 


called his own, and in his full absorption into the 
life of his Master. Such union, the realization of 
thoughts of love which had possessed him for 
many years, throws him into an intellectual ecstasy, 
and song after song is poured out expressing his 
dehght. The ordinances of the Church, especially 
those connected with the Holy Supper, get a new 
meaning. The closing day^ is sacramental, and all 
the world resounds with God's praise. 

Herberts subscription at his Institution to Bemerton Rectory ; from 
the Record Office, Salisbury. See Vol. J, p. 39. 








Not found in W. The first happiness either of tak- 
ing orders or of settling at Bemerton. 


Used also in The Rose, IV, 185. 


Having Thee, I have all. 
Stanza i, What life will then be. 
Stanza ii. What He will then be. 
Stanza iii. What I shall then be. 


1. John xiv, 6. 

2. A way or road usually deprives us of breath. 

4. Ed. 1633 reads And such a, throwing the Kne out 
of rhythm and out of conformity to the plan of 
the poem. I substitute the reading of B. and of 
the later editions. 

6. Thou art not only the feast^ but the way to it: 
Country Parson, XXII. The same rhyme occurs 
again in Faith, IV, 29, 1. 6 and 8. 

7. A feast, unlike common feasts, more enjoyable the 
longer it continues. 

8. A strength which makes him who approaches 

10. As none can demand. Cf. Praise, IV, 193, 1. 4; 
The Method, V, 197, 1. 6. 

11. Romans viii, 35. 



Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life: 
Such a Way as gives us breath. 

Such a Truth as ends all strife. 
Such a Life as killeth death. 

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength: 5 

Such a Light as shows a feast. 
Such a Feast as mends in length. 

Such a Strength as makes his guest. 

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart: 

Such a Joy as none can move, 10 

Such a Love as none can part. 
Such a Heart as joyes in love. 


Introductory : 

"When at his Induction he was shut into Bemerton 
Church, being left there alone to Toll the Bell (as 
the Law requires him) he staid so much longer than 
an ordinary time that his Friend Mr. Woodnot 
looked in at the Church-window and saw him lie 
prostrate on the ground before the Alter; at which 
time and place (as he after told Mr. Woodnot) he 
set some Rules to himself for the future manage of 
his life; and then and there made a vow to labour 
to keep them:" Walton's Life. — Aaron well illus- 
trates the exquisite art of Herbert in allowing 
thought to dictate form. The standard of the priest- 
hood being one, is fixed in five rhyming words : in 
his own head and heart the priest must be sound; 
from him music must go forth; it is his work to 
find rest for the sinful; his dress or exterior must 
express an inner purity. In successive stanzas, all 
having the same fixed rhyme, this scheme tests the 
divergent natures found in man. Swinburne, in his 
poem Eight Years Old, similarly employs a fixed 
set of rhymes for all the stanzas. 

Date : 

Not found in W. Probably written after ordination 
at Bemerton. 




The true priest. 



HoLiNESSE on the head, 
Light and perfections on the breast, 
Harmonious bells below, raising the dead 
To leade them unto life and rest; 

Thus are true Aarons drest. 5 

Profanenesse in my head. 
Defects and darknesse in my breast, 
A noise of passions ringing me for dead 
Unto a place where is no rest; 

Poore priest thus am I drest. 10 


Notes : 

1. Exodus xxviii, 36. 

2. Light and perfections =1511111 and Thummim, Exo- 
dus xxviii, 30. 

3. In Exodus xxviii, 33-35, the robe of the High Priest 
is described. On its lower hem it had rows of bells 
and pomegranates. Herbert refers to Aaron's bell 
again in Decay, V, 115, 1. 10. 

8. Noise is again contrasted with music in The Fami- 
LiE, V, 185, 1. 1. 

13. Live= aXiye. 

19. Old man. Colossians iii, 9. Vaughan in his Repent- 
ance rewrites thus: 

"Profaneness on my tongue doth rest. 
Defects and darkness in my breast; 
Pollutions all my body wed, 
And even my soul to Thee is dead; 
Only in Him on Whom I feast 
Both soul and body are well drest." 


Onely another head 
I have, another heart and breast, 
Another musick, making live not dead. 
Without whom I could have no rest; 

In him I am well drest. 15 

Christ is my onely head, 
My alone onely heart. and breast, 
My onely musick, striking me ev'n dead, 
That to the old man I may rest. 

And be in him new drest. 20 

So holy in my head. 
Perfect and Ught in my deare breast. 
My doctrine tun'd by Christ, (who is not dead, 
But Kves in me while I do rest,) 

Come people! Aaron's drest. 25 



Not found in W. Salisbury Cathedral is noted for 

the number of its windows, which are said to be as 

many as the days of the year. 


The preacher's heavenly doctrine must shine 

through his own life before it can affect those who 

would see God. 
Notes : 

2. Briitle. So The Priesthood, IV, 169, 1. 11. 

3. Though Herbert often regards man as God's Tem- 
ple (Man, IV, 11,1. 1-6; The Church-Floore, 

V, 167; SiON, VI, 25), the word occurs in his 
poems only here, in The Church-Porch, III, 63, 
1. 423, SiON, VI, 25, 1. 2, The Church Militant, 

VI, 135, 1. 225, and in the doubtful poem The 
Convert, VI, 157, 1. 18. It occurs again in his 
letter to his mother (1622), II, 209: God intends the 
soul to be as a sacred temple for Himself to dwell 
in. And in The Country Parson, XXI, the 
parson is to build up this knowledge to a spirituall 

6. Anneal. Glass which has been painted is after- 
wards fired or annealed in order to fix the color. So 
Love-Joy, V, 163, 1. 3. 



Lord, how can man preach thy eternall word ? 
He is a brittle crazie glasse, 

Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford 

This glorious and transcendent place 
To be a window, through thy grace. 5 

But when thou dost anneal in glasse thy storie, 

Making thy life to shine within 
The holy Preachers, then the light and glorie 

More rev'rend grows, and more doth 

Which else shows watrish, bleak, and 
thin. 10 

Doctrine and Ufe, colours and Hght, in one 

When they combine and mingle, bring 

A strong regard and aw; but speech alone 
Doth vanish like a flaring thing. 
And in the eare, not conscience ring. 15 


Introductory : 

The true ground of confidence. 

Not found in W. 
Metre : 

Of seventeen sonnets, six — like this — are in the 
Shakespearian form. 

"It is God which worketh in you both to will and 
to do of his good pleasure:" Philippians ii, 13. 

1. Strict decree, Matthew v, 48. 
6. Was, instead of is, indicating quotation. 
13. 1 Corinthians xv, 22. 



I THREATNED to observe the strict decree 

Of my deare God with all my power and 
But I was told by one it could not be, 

Yet I might trust in God to be my light. 
Then will I trust, said I, in him alone. 5 

Nay, ev'n to trust in him was also his; 
We must conf esse that nothing is our own. 

Then I confesse that he my succour is. 
But to have nought is ours, not to confesse 

That we have nought. I stood amaz'd at 
this, 10 

Much troubled, till I heard a friend expresse 

That all things were more ours by being his. 
What Adam had, and forfeited for all, 
Christ keepeth now, who cannot fail or fall. 



For five other Psalms which are supposed to have 

been translated by Herbert, see VI, 167-179. 

Not found in W. 

Used again in Submission, V, 205. 



The God of love my shepherd is, 

And he that doth me feed. 
While he is mine and I am his, 

What can I want or need ? 

He leads me to the tender grasse, 5 

Where I both feed and rest. 

Then to the streams that gently passe; 
In both I have the best. 

Or if I stray, he doth convert 

And bring my minde in frame. 10 

And all this not for my desert. 

But for his holy name. 


15. Thy rod is with me. 

21-24. In this stanza one sees how sweetly and simply 
Herbert could write when he designed to do so. 


Yea, in death's shadie black abode 

Well may I walk, not fear; 
For thou art with me, and thy rod 15 

To guide, thy staffe to bear. 

Nay, thou dost make me sit and dine 

Ev'n in my enemies' sight. 
My head with oyl, my cup with wine 

Runnes over day and night. 20 

Surely thy sweet and wondrous love 
Shall measure all my dayes; 

And as it never shall remove. 
So neither shall my praise. 


Introductory : 

"The same night that he had his Induction he said 
to Mr. Woodnot: I have this day taken Jesus to be 
my Master and Governour ; and I am so proud of his 
service that I will always observe and obey and do 
his Will, and alwaies call him Jesus my Master: " 
Walton's Life. — "To testifie his independencie 
upon all others, and to quicken his diligence in this 
kinde, he used in his prdinarie speech, when he 
made mention of the blessed name of our Lord and 
Saviour, Jesus Christ, to adde, My Master: " Fer- 
rar. Preface to The Temple. Cf. also John xiii, 13. 


Used only here. The first and last line of each 
stanza rhyme on the same word, thus assisting the 
suggestion of a pervasive perfume. 

Date : 

Not found in W. 

Subject : 

Love should yield a reciprocal fragrance, both to 
lover and to loved. 


3. Gray amber, a secretion of the spermaceti whale, is 
found floating in lumps upon the sea, and is much 
prized in perfumery. Milton refers to it in his " Am- 
ber scent of odorous perfume : " Samson Agonistes, 
1. 720. See, too. Sir T. Browne, Vulgar Errors, Bk. 
Ill, ch. xxvi. 
6. So The Banquet, t", 55, 1. 24. 




How sweetly doth My Master sound! My Mas- 
ter I 
As Amber-greese leaves a rich sent 

Unto the taster, 
So do these words a sweet content, 
An orientall fragrancie. My Master. 5 

With these all day I do perfume my minde. 

My minde ev'n thrust into them both, 

That I might finde 
What cordials make this curious broth, 

This broth of smells, that feeds and fats my minde. 

My Mastery shall I speak? O that to thee 11 
My servant were a little so. 

As flesh may be. 
That these two words might creep and 
To some degree of spicinesse to thee! d5 


16. PoTnander (more fully described in The Banquet, 
V, 55, 1. 25= a scent-ball, which when warmed in 
the hand or crushed (1. 20) yields odor. Shake- 
speare mentions it among a lady*s trinkets; Win- 
ter's Tale, iv, 3: "A ribbon, glass, pomander, 
brooch." And Bacon, Nat. Hist. Cent. 9, among 
medical appHances: "They have in physick use 
of pomanders and knots of powders for drying of 
rheums, comforting of the heat, provoking of sleep, 
&c." In short, it served the double purpose of the 
modern smelhng-bottle. 

17. That fragrance which formerly attended my ad- 
dresses to thee would now be reflected back from 
tiiee, and thus gain a double potency. 

22. An uneven line is rare in Herbert. 
25. Breathing = emission. 


Then should the Pomander, which was before 
A speaking sweet, mend by reflection 

And tell me more; 
For pardon of my imperfection 19 

Would warm and work it sweeter then before. 

For when My Master, which alone is sweet 

And ev'n in my unworthinesse pleasing, 

Shall call and meet 
My servant, as thee not displeasing, 

That call is but the breathing of the sweet. 25 

This breathing would with gains by sweetningme 
(As sweet things traffick when they meet) 

Return to thee; 
And so this new commerce and sweet 

Should all my hfe employ and busie me. 30 



Not found in W. 




A poem is the utterance of feeKng; perfect, accord- 
ing to the completeness with which that feeling is 

Notes : 

2. Catches, proverbs, brief phrases saturated with 
meaning, frequently run in Herbert's mind. So, 
My Master, in The Odour, V, 23; Less then the 
least of all thy mercies, in The Posie, V, 29; 
Thou shall answer. Lord, for me, in The Quip, 
V, 33; My God and King, in Antiphon, V, 63; 
Them art still my God, in The Forerunners, VI, 
10. Campion in the Preface to his Divine and Moral 
Songs (1613) prettily writes : " In these English airs 
I have chiefly aimed to couple my words and notes 
lovingly together; which will be much for him to 
do that hath not power over both." 

14. 5e/tt7MZe=lacking. So L'Envoy, VI, 141, 1. 16. 

15. In kinde= according to the true nature of a hymn. 
Cf. Love, III, 85, 1. 25, and Nature, IV, 99, 1. 10. 

20. Similar cases where feeling may be conceived as 
interfering with rhyme are the last lines of Jordan, 

III, 89; The Sacrifice, III, 143, 1. 215; Deniall, 

IV, 95; Grief, VI, 83. 



My joy, my life, my crown! 
My heart was meaning all the day 

Somewhat it fain would say; 
And still it runneth mutt'ring up and down 
With onely this. My joy, my life, my crown. 5 

Yet slight not these few words. 
If truly said, they may take part 

Among the best in art. 
The finenesse which a hymne or psalme affords 
Is when the soul unto the lines accords. 10 

He who craves all the minde. 
And all the soul, and strength, and time. 

If the words onely ryme, 
Justly complains that somewhat is behinde 
To make his verse, or write a hymne in kinde. 

Whereas if th' heart be moved, 16 

Although the verse be somewhat scant, 

God doth supplie the want. 
As when th' heart sayes (sighing to be approved) 
0, could I love ! and stops: God writeth, Loved. 



Posie here means not a bunch of flowers, as in Life, 
VI, 81, 1. 1, but a motto, as in Miserie, IV, 53, 
1. 69. In this sense posie is a shortened form of 
poesie, and is sometimes spelled so by old writers. It 
is regularly used of inscriptions on glass, and love- 
verses engraved in rings. I append a few of the 
latter which I have met in old authors: I seek to 
be not thine but thee; There is a time; Caught 
and content; Let us be one till we are none; I 
would be glad if you I had; Not too fast, but to 
last; To live in love I love to live; Once mine, 
always thine; There is no other, and lam he. 
That loves no other, and thou art she; My joy I do 
enjoy; Thy death is mine, my life is thine. — 
Shakespeare uses posie in the same sense as Her- 
bert. In The Merchant of Venice, v. 1, Gratiano 
says he had a ring from his mistress, 

"Whose posy was 
For all the world like cutler's poetry 
Upon a knife, Love me and leave me not." 

A notable revival of posie in its ancient sense is that 
of Browning in his Introduction to The Ring and 
the Book. After stating the facts which give form 
to the Ring, he writes: "A ring without a posy, and 
that ring mine ? " and so appends the love-verses of 
the Invocation. 



Let wits contest, 
And with their words and posies windows fill. 

Lesse then the least 
Of all thy merdes, is my posie still. 


Just before his death, when Herbert sent his poems 
to Ferrar, he said: / and this book (The Temple) 
are less than the least of God's mercies : Walton's 
Life. — "We conclude all with his own Motto, 
with which he used to conclude all things that 
might seem to tend any way to his honour: Lesse 
then the least of God's mercies: " Ferrar's Preface 
to The Temple. , 

Date : 

Not found in W. 




The lover's delight in his own unworthiness. 

3. Cf. Genesis xxxii, 10, with Ephesians iii, 8. 
9, 10. Cf. the two JoRDANS, HI, 87 and 91. 


This on my ring, 5 

This by my picture, in my book I write. 

Whether I sing, 
Or say, or dictate, this is my delight. 

Invention rest, 
Comparisons go play, wit use thy will. 10 

Lesse then the least 
Of all God's mercies, is my posie still. 



Quip— quid pro quo, a repartee, retort, or home- 
thrust (1. 24), as in Shakespeare's "Quip modest," 
As You Like It, v, 4. So, too, Lyly, Campaspe, 

" Ps. Why, what's a quip ? 

" Ma. Wee great girders call it a short saying of a sharpe 
wit, with a bitter sense in a sweet word." 

Vaughan imitates this poem in The Ornament. 


Not found in W. 


Used also in The Quidditie, III, 97. 


The same that Herbert has often treated in earlier 
periods of his career, — in The Quidditie, HI, 97; 
The World, IV, 21; The Pearl, IV, 177. He 
recounts the appeals that Beauty, Pleasure, Ambi- 
tion, Wit, have made, calling him from that service 
of God which he still feels to be a sufficient offset 
to them. "In this time of his decay he would often 
speak to this purpose: I now look back upon the 
pleasures oj my life pasty and see the content I have 
taken in beauty ^ in wit, in musicky and pleasant 
Conversation, are now all past by me like a dream, 
or as a shadow that returns not, and are now all 
become dead to me, or I to them : " Walton's Life. 



The merrie world did on a day 

With his train-bands and mates agree 

To meet together where I lay, 
And all in sport to geere at me. 

First, Beautie crept into a rose; 5 

Which when I pluckt not. Sir, said she. 

Tell me, I pray, whose hands are those ? 
But thou shalt answer. Lord, for me. 



2. Train-bands=mi\iiiay soldiery ; here, organized 

7. Why do you not clutch at beauty ? So, too, in The 
Collar, V, 213, 1. 18. 

8. The Prayer-Book version of Psalm xxxviii, 15, 
reads: "In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust; 
thou shalt answer for me, O Lord, my God." 

9. To Herbert money is not a serious temptation. His 
most important poem on it is Avarice, V, 113. 
He has also a few general precepts about it in The 
Church-Porch, III, 33, 35, 1. 151-180, and occa- 
sional mention elsewhere. 

15. 1 do not understand this to mean: He granted me 
only a glimpse; but. He declared that a person of 
my dull life could only half perceive what glory is. 

23. Some late editions print Thine, with a capital, as 
if referring to God, and / to man. As printed in 
ed. 1633, the overwhelming reply to every tempta- 
tion promising gain is God*s voice, saying: "I am 
thine. What gain is comparable?" 


Then Money came, and chinking still. 
What tune is this, poore man ? said he, 10 

I heard in Musick you had skill. 

But thou shalt answer. Lord, for me. 

Then came brave Glorie puflSng by 
In silks that whistled, who but he ? 

He scarce allow'd me half an eie. 15 

But thou shalt answer. Lord, for me. 

Then came quick Wit and Conversation, 
And he would needs a comfort be, 

And, to be short, make an oration. 

But thou shalt answer. Lord, for me. 20 

Yet when the houre of thy designe 

To answer these fine things shall come. 

Speak not at large, say, I am thine; 
And then they have their answer home. 



Not found in W. 


Unique. Throughout the poem only two rhymes 
are used, — mme, thine, and more» restore. 


"Either was the other's mine." Shakespeare's The 
Phoenix and the Turtle, 1. 36. The subject requires 
that this poem shall have but two stanzas, — re- 
porting Me and Thee, — that these two shall be 
fully identical in sense and sound, and only distin- 
guishable through being approached from opposite 
points of view. This thought of "making two 
one" (The Search, V, 223, 1. 60) is also found in 
Judgement, IV, 67, 1. 15; Artillerie, IV, 159, 
1. 30; The Holdfast, V, 17, 1. 12. 


1. Song of Solomon ii, 16. 

6. Advantage= addition, like with gains, of The 
Odour, V, 25, 1. 26. Cf. Shakespeare, King John, 
iii, 3: 

" There is a soul counts thee her creditor. 
And with advantage means to pay thy love." 

This line forms the turn in each stanza; cf. 1. 16. 

7. Being mine—o. verbal noun, with this as its adjec- 

13. r/im=than. 



Lord, thou art mine, and I am thine. 

If mine I am; and thine much more 
Then I or ought or can be mine. 

Yet to be thine doth me restore; 
So that again I now am mine, 5 

And with advantage mine the more. 
Since this being mine brings with it thine, 

And thou with me dost thee restore. 
If I without thee would be mine, 
I neither should be mine nor thine. 10 

Lord, I am thine, and thou art mine; 

So mine thou art that something more 
I may presume thee mine then thine. 

For thou didst sujffer to restore 
Not thee, but me, and to be mine, 15 

And with advantage mine the more. 
Since thou in death wast none of thine, 

Yet then as mine didst me restore. 
O be mine still! Still make me thine! 
Or rather make no Thine and Mine! 



Herbert generally uses Paradise in this sense, re- 
ferring to a garden, and primarily to the Garden of 
Eden. The only passages, I believe, in which the 
word is used in the sense of Heaven, are: Sunday, 
III, 179, 1. 56, The Flower, VI, 67, 1. 23 and 49, 
and Perseverance, VI, 155, 1. 10. — The Coun- 
try Parson (XXXII) is to dresse and prune them, 
and take as much joy in a straight-growing childe 
or servant as a Gardiner doth in a choice tree. 


Not found in W. 


Used also in Trinitie-Sunday, III, 161. 


The careful pruning of the divine husbandman 
symbolized by the elimination of letters from a 
rhyme, — possibly suggested to Herbert by the trim- 
ming of trees in the artificial gardens of his time. 


2. Thy trees. He writes as if he were already a priest. 
He alludes to the ordering of gardens again in Sun- 
day, III, 177, 1. 27, and The Familie, V, 185, 1. 12. 
10. Spare probably means refrain from, as in Giddi* 
nesse, V, 129, 1. 12, and elsewhere. The rhyme 
with are occurs in The British Church, V, 101, 
1. 10. 
15. rowc^= attain. So Donne, Forbidding Mourning, 
1. 36: "And makes me end where I begun." 



I BLESSE thee, Lord, because I g r o w 
Among thy trees, which in a r o w 
To thee both fruit and order o w. 

What open force or hidden charm 

Can blast my fruit, or bring me harm, 5 

While the inclosure is thine arm? 

Inclose me still for fear I start. 
Be to me rather sharp and tart 
Then let me want thy hand and art. 9 

When thou dost greater judgements spare, 
And with thy knife but prune and pare, 
Ev'n fruitfuU trees more fruitfuU are. 

Such sharpnes shows the sweetest frend, 

Such cuttings rather heal then rend, 

And such beginnings touch their end. 15 



Not found in W. 


Grant — Thou who hast already granted so much 

— grant rest in thyself and thankfulness. 

"Would I could wish my wishes all to rest. 
And know to wish the wish that were the best ! " 

A. H. Clough's Love is Fellow-Service. 


2. Notes and Queries for November 2, 1850, quotes 
Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI, i, 1 : 

"O Lord, that lends me life. 
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!" 

13-16. A reckoning of what it would come to. 
16. And though it is already much, keeps coming for 



Thou that hast giv'n so much to me, 

Give one thing more, a gratefull heart. 
See how thy beggar works on thee 

By art. 

He makes thy gifts occasion more, 5 

And sayes. If he in this be crost, 
All thou hast giv'n him heretofore 

Is lost. 

But thou didst reckon, when at first 

Thy word our hearts and hands did crave. 
What it would come to at the worst 11 

To save: 

Perpetuall knockings at thy doore, 

Tears sullying thy transparent rooms, 
Gift upon gift, much would have more, 15 

And comes. 


17. Thou wentst on, so Even-Song, V, 61, 1. 17. 

19. SiON, VI, 25, 1. 18. 

22. Cf . Donne, A Litanie, xxiii, 1 : 

"To Thee 
A siimer is more music when he prays 
Than spheres' or angels' praises be." 

27. In Ungratefulnesse, IV, 41, 1. 26, we learn that 
the only thing God demands of us is a grateful 
heart. This poem shows how even this must be 
accepted from Him. 

30. Days of omission, containing no blessing. 


This notwithstanding, thou wentst on 

And didst allow us all our noise. 
Nay, thou hast made a sigh and grone 

Thy joyes. 20 

Not that thou hast not still above 

Much better tunes then grones can make. 
But that these countrey-aires thy love 

Did take. 

Wherefore I crie and crie again, 25 

And in no quiet canst thou be 
Till I a thankfull heart obtain 

Of thee. 

Not thankfull when it pleaseth me, 

As if thy blessings had spare dayes, 30 
But such a heart whose pulse may be 

Thy praise. 



Two other poems with this title are given, III, 95 

and IV, 193. 

Not found in W. 


Praise of God for his watchful efficiency. 

1. Jlifea?i=intend, aim at, — so Justice, VI, 13, 1. 9. 

5. Wring. So in Love Unknown, V, 179, 1. 17. 

6. Cf. the refrain of Praise, III, 95. 
9. Cf. The Eldcer, III, 99, 1. 8. 

13. 0/i=against, adversely to. 

15. Is Herbert here remembering the Chain of Zeus ? 

Homer, lUad, VHI, 19-27. 
17. Exodus xiv, 25. 



Lord, I will mean and speak thy praise, 
Thy praise alone. 
My busie heart shall spin it all my dayes; 
And when it stops for want of store. 
Then will I wring it with a sigh or grone, 5 

That thou mayst yet have more. 

When thou dost favour any action. 
It runnes, it flies; 
All things concurre to give it a perfection. 

That which had but two legs before, 10 

When thou dost blesse, hath twelve. One wheel 
doth rise 
To twentie then, or more. 

But when thou dost on businesse blow. 
It hangs, it clogs; 
Not all the teams of Albion in a row 15 

Can hale or draw it out of doore. 
Legs are but stumps, and Pharaoh's wheels but 
And struggling hinders more. 


22. The sea his shore. So Providence, V, 83, 1. 48. 

23. Stint=hovLnd3y restraint. 

24. In a letter thanking King James for his book, he 
says of him; O prudentiam incompardbilem, quae 
eodem vvltu et moderatur mundum et nos respidt 

27. Psahn Ivi, 8. Cf. Hope, V, 203, 1. 5. 

30. In heaven provision is made for more repentance 
than I have shown. 

33. Old battle-flags hung up within a church. — Which 
refers to drop, not to eye. 

36. Referring back to the bottle of 1. 27. A Uttle of 
God's grief over my sin is weightier than all my 

38. The pressure promised in 1. 5. 

40. At «se= usury, interest. Cf. for the thought, Obe- 
dience, IV, 183, 1. 42, and An Offering, IV, 189, 
1. 7-9. 


Thousands of things do thee employ 

In ruling all 20 

This spacious globe: Angels must have their joy, 

Devils their rod, the sea his shore. 
The windes their stint. And yet when I did call. 
Thou heardst my call, and more. 

I have not lost one single tear. 25 

But when mine eyes 
Did weep to heav'n, they found a bottle there 

(As we have boxes for the poore) 
Readie to take them in; yet of a size 

That would contain much more. 30 

But after thou hadst sUpt a drop 
From thy right eye, 
(Which there did hang Uke streamers neare the 
Of some fair church, to show the sore 
And bloudie battell which thou once didst trie) 35 
The glasse was full and more. 

Wherefore I sing. Yet since my heart. 

Though press'd, runnes thin, 
O that I might some other hearts convert. 

And so take up at use good store; 40 

That to thy chests there might be coming in 
Both all my praise and more! 



Not found in W. 
Metre : 

Used also in the next poem, The Banquet. 

Ho, every one that thirsteth, — whether for food, 
wine, ease, joy, or love, — come to the banquet and 
find what will elsewhere be vainly sought. Cf. 
Isaiah Iv, 1. 
Notes : 

1. jTas^e = appetite. 
4. The Priesthood, IV, 171, 1. 27. 
8. Whose character wine determines, — as winebib- 
bers, drunkards, — with possibly a play upon the 
word, i. e. it empties of fineness. Cf. Donne, Anat- 
omic of the World, 37: "Her name defined thee, 
gave thee form and frame." And The Country 
Parson, XXVI: One ad in these things is had, hut 
it is the custome and habit that names a glutton. 
15. The same thought in Miserie, IV, 49, 1. 22. 
18. Fright. The terror one would naturally feel at his 
sin becoming visible is here felt for sin itself. 



Come ye hither all whose taste 
Is your waste. 

Save your cost and mend your fare. 

God is here prepared and drest, 

And the feast, 5 

God, in whom all dainties are. 

Come ye hither all whom wine 
Doth define, 

Naming you not to your good. 

Weep what ye have drunk amisse, 10 
And drink this. 

Which before ye drink is bloud. 

Come ye hither all whom pain 
Doth arraigne, 

Bringing all your sinnes to sight. 15 

Taste and fear not. God is here 
In this cheer, 

And on sinne doth cast the fright. 


23. Such delight as you have known hitherto. 

26. Doves draw the celestial car of Venus. 

28. This contrast between divine and human love is 

expounded at length in Two Sonnets, III, 79, and 

in Love, HI, 83. 
31. Luke xiv, 13. 
36. Where God is, there all people should be. 


Come ye hither all whom joy 

Doth destroy, 20 

While ye graze without your bounds. 
Here is joy that drowneth quite 

Your delight. 
As a floud the lower grounds. 

Come ye hither all whose love 25 

Is your dove. 

And exalts you to the skie. 

Here is love which, having breath 
Ev'n in death, 

After death can never die. 30 

Lord I have invited all. 

And I shall 
Still invite, still call to thee. 
For it seems but just and right 

In my sight, 35 

Where is all, there all should be. 



Not found in W. 

Metre : 

Used also in the preceding poem, The Invitation. 


The marvellous delicacy of God's table. 

4. Neatnesse (cf. Man, IV, 17, 1. 42, and The 
Familie, V, 185, 1. 8) is Herbert's frequent word 
for refined beauty. Dr. Willmott well quotes Mil- 
ton's line in his Sdnnet to Mr. Lawrence: "What 
neat repast shall feast us, light and choice ? " 

13. Sweetnesse here, as usually with Herbert, refers to 
the smell, not the taste. In five stanzas of the poem 
it is mentioned. 

14. Made a head. We say made headway. Cf . The 
Sacrifice, III, 123, 1. 5. 



Welcome sweet and sacred cheer, 
Welcome deare! 

With me, in me, live and dwell; 

For thy neatnesse passeth sight. 

Thy delight 5 

Passeth tongue to taste or tell. 

O what sweetnesse from the bowl 
Fills my soul, 

Such as is and makes divine! 

Is some starre (fled from the sphere) 10 
Melted there. 

As we sugar melt in wine ? 

Or hath sweetnesse in the bread 
Made a head 

To subdue the smell of sinne; 15 

Flowers, and gummes, and powders giving 
All their living. 

Lest the enemie should winne ? 


19. The starve of the second stanza, the flower of the 

24. So The Odour, V, 23, 1. 6. 

25. Pomander =3ceiit-ha31. Cf. The Odoue, V, 25, 

26. Still=at all times. 

31. Cf. Vanitie, IV, 153, 1. 13. 

34. Took bloud=hecajne man. 

35. 2 Samuel xiv, 14. 


Doubtlesse neither starre nor flower 

Hath the power 20 

Such a sweetnesse to impart. 

Onely God, who gives perfumes, 

Flesh assumes, 

And with it perfumes my heart. 

But as Pomanders and wood 25 

Still are good. 

Yet being bruis'd are better sented, 

God to show how farre his love 

Could improve. 

Here, as broken, is presented. 30 

When I had forgot my birth. 

And on earth 

In delights of earth was drown'd, 

God took bloud and needs would be 

Spilt with me, 35 

And so found me on the ground. 


41. Farre pom both the heavenly and the earthly 

43. Cf. Praise, III, 95, 1. 5. 

49. The jyitie God has shown in the Incarnation. 

50. My theme, as in The Forerunners, VI, 77, 
1. 11. 

51. Lines and Zi/e= verse and action, repeated in hands 
and breath of I. 53. So, too, The Collar, V, 211, 
1. 4. Deed and storie of Complaining, VI, 27, 
1. 7, is similar. 


Having rais'd me to look up, 

In a cup 
Sweetly he doth meet my taste. 
But I still being low and short, 40 

Farre from court, 
Wine becomes a wing at last. 

For with it alone I flie 

To the skie; 

Where I wipe mine eyes, and see 45 

What I seek, for what I sue. 

Him I view 

Who hath done so much for me. 

Let the wonder of this pitie 

Be my dittie, 50 
And take up my lines and life. 
Hearken, under pain of death. 

Hands and breath, 
Strive in this and love the strife. 



This poem is not in W., but in place of it appears 
the poem given, VI, 151. 


Unique. The stanzas are arranged in pairs, by 
making the second and eighth Hues long. 


Eyes, light, and power, and the cessation of all three, 
equally express the love of God. The poem is 
divided into two parts, by the employment in the 
fourth and eighth stanzas of a special rhyming 
system. The first part shows how Kttle I bring 
to God; the second, how much He brings to me. 
Is it fanciful to suggest that the first two stanzas 
of each part discuss eyes and light; the third 
'power ? 


7. Psalm cxxx, 3. But I am now protected against 
his gaze. 

8. His Sonne. The double meaning is expanded and 
discussed in The Sonne, V, 161. 

14. Cf. Nature, IV, 99, 1. 9. 



Blest be the God of love, 
Who gave me eyes, and Ught, and power this day 
Both to be busie and to play. 
But much more blest be God above 

Who gave me sight alone, 5 

Which to himseK he did denie; 
For when he sees my waies, I dy, 
But I have got his sonne, and he hath none. 

What have I brought thee home 
For this thy love ? Have I discharg'd the debt 10 
Which this dayes favour did beget ? 
I ranne, but all I brought was fome. 

Thy diet, care, and cost 
Do end in bubbles, balls of winde; 
Of winde to thee whom I have crost, 15 
But balls of wilde-fire to my troubled minde. 


17. So Gratefulnesse, V, 43, 1. 17. Possibly still 
here may have its modern meaning of notwithstand- 
ingy instead of its usual meaning in Herbert of 

18. Cf . Man, IV, 17, 1. 32. 

26. The contrasts of day and night are those of activity 

and repose. 
30. Eludes thy heart's care. 
32. Then=iliaiL. Romans viii, 35. 


Yet still thou goest on, 
And now with darknesse closest wearie eyes, 
Saying to man. It doth suffice. 
Henceforth repose. Your work is done. 20 

Thus in thy Ebony box 
Thou dost inclose us, till the day 
Put our amendment in our way. 
And give new wheels to our disorder'd clocks. 

I muse which shows more love, 25 
The day or night : that is the gale, this th' harbour; 
That is the walk, and this the arbour; 
Or that the garden, this the grove. 

My God, thou art all love. 
Not one poore minute 'scapes thy breast 
But brings a favour from above. 31 

And in this love, more then in bed, I rest. 


Introductory : 

Antiphon is the chant or singing of a choir in 
church, in which strain answers strain. It is de- 
scribed in Christmas, III, 169, 1. 32. Another 
poem with this title is given. III, 107. 


Not found in W. 

Metre: * 


Subject : 

A call for universal praise, from all above and all 
below. Psalm cxlviii. 

Notes : 

2. Cf. Jordan, III, 89, 1. 15, and The Elixer, III, 



Cho. Let all the world in ev'ry corner sing, 
My God and King. 

Vers. The heav'ns are not too high, 
His praise may thither flie. 
The earth is not too low, 5 

His praises there may grow. 

Cho. Let all the world in ev'ry corner sing, 
My God and King. 

Vers. The church with psalms must shout. 
No doore can keep them out. 10 

But above all, the heart 
Must bear the longest part. 

Cho. Let all the world in ev'ry corner sing, 
My God and King. 

HerherVs subscription at his Ordination^ showing also other hand- 
writing of the time ; from t/ie Record Ojfice, Salisbury. 


I ^■\ <^ '^'^ / ^ ^^ T - ' 

'^i^ ^55^^ 




MANY persons find the reflective poetry of 
Herbert the most agreeable portion of The 
Temple. The more personal poems call for larger 
historical and artistic imagination than most of 
us care to supply. To reconstruct their reality 
we must project ourselves into conditions of mind 
which belong to a bygone age; and few are willing, 
or even able, to detach themselves from their own 
time and feel the humanity in types of emotion 
which look fictitious because unfamiliar. Or if 
we take the very probable view that in these poems, 
as in Shakespeare's or Sidney's Sonnets, art is as 
much concerned as emotion, the chance that Her- 
bert's eager songs will be understood becomes 
more slender still. For art is little known or hon- 
ored among us. It interests but few to see a feeling 
taking its rise in some experience of a poet, then 
purged of whatever checks its coherence, and 
gradually furnished with all that can lend it ful- 
ness and precision, until it finally comes forth pal- 
pitating with fresh and irresponsible life, and ex- 
hibits with a completeness not otherwise possible 
an isolated section of the complex soul of man. 
Indeed, busy and matter-of-fact folk are disposed 
to suspect falsehood in anything which bears the 


marks of art, and to count only those emotions 
genuine which are poured out with the sponta- 
neous disorderliness of nature. Where such instinc- 
tive presuppositions exist, the subtle adjustments 
and intricate accords by means of which Herbert 
idealizes passions which to-day are but sUghtly 
felt will to a considerable extent remove his per- 
sonal poems from sympathy. Work which charms 
the lover of exquisite art, and beautiful records of 
earlier habits of mind which fascinate the imagi- 
native student of spiritual history, will be easily 
discarded as artificial and full of conceits. 

But even then the reflective poetry of Herbert 
remains. Art is not usually felt to be a disturber 
of meditation, but rather to be required in utter- 
ances of profound thought. Herbert's intellectual 
verse has accordingly been prized by many who 
have regarded his emotional with something like 
contempt. I do not myself think the two kinds can 
be fully parted. Herbert puts passion into every- 
thing, and everything he rationalizes. Yet I have 
thought I might render him more accessible to all 
tastes if here among the Bemerton poems, as pre- 
viously among those of the Cambridge years, I place 
in a special Group those which are least marked 
by the personal note. Here stand the compact 
pieces of wisdom which were shaped in the Wilt- 
shire study. Some of them may have been brought 
over half-finished from Cambridge, Dauntsey, or 
Baynton. But in Bemerton they received their 


final form, and they appear only in the manuscript 
of Herbert's later years. 

In this more abstract and contemplative species 
of verse Herbert is able to exhibit with fullest ad- 
vantage one of his chief literary merits, I mean his 
power to charge a few common words with more 
meaning than they easily carry. The phrase 
strains; the thought obtrudes beyond the words. 
By audacity of diction Herbert forces his reader — 
his energetic reader — to approach at some strange 
angle new aspects of old truths. We all know the 
aphoristic force of the EKzabethan and Jacobean 
poets. They were no mere epigrammatists, like 
the Queen Anne's men. They cared nothing for 
propriety, and kept their thoughts on things rather 
than on words. But nobody has ever been able to 
fashion a phrase with greater certainty that it will 
stick in the mind which it once enters. In this 
penetrative power Herbert stands among the fore- 
most of his age. Few poets are more quotable. He 
abounds in those " jewels five words long which 
on the stretched forefinger of all time sparkle 
forever." Yet his sententious power is not satis- 
fied with creating scattered phrases ; these are but 
the material out of which a pathetic, gay, or saga- 
cious whole is firmly fashioned. The general in- 
tellectual tone appropriate to each poem is to 
Herbert's mind a matter of much consequence, 
and the phrasing which would enter fitly into one 
is not allowed to disturb the poise of another. 


Let any reader compare Peace and Dotage, 
CoNSTANCiE and The Bag, or either of these 
with Vanitie or Vertue, and he will see how 
harmoniously selective is Herbert's craftsmanship, 
how free he is from anything like a single fixed 
style. All this is less felt because without special 
training on the reader's part Herbert is difficult 
to follow. He moves at great speed through strange 
and tangled regions. He loves "by indirection to 
find direction out." He does not concern himself 
with his reader, but with getting his own mind 
completely delivered. 

I have set at the head of this Group Herbert's 
profoundest philosophic study, Providence. The 
first impression it will give is that it is queer. Cer- 
tain lines will seem positively comic. I do not 
think this fact would have disturbed Herbert, or 
have brought him to admit the need of change, 
any more than similar facts in the poetry of Words- 
worth, Browning, and Emerson ever worried those 
explorers of the human soul. Such poets write 
for themselves, and merely allow other men to 
listen while they think. Providence is a mas- 
terly survey of a closely ordered universe which 
culminates in man. While lacking modern scien- 
tific equipment, trusting too to Aristotelic methods 
more than would to-day be generally approved, 
and consequently often mistaking small things for 
great, Herbert shows a keenness of observation, 
an ability to group together similar but outwardly 


unlike facts, and a prevision even of modern 
evolutional points of view, which prove him to have 
been a man of real grasp in subjects lying outside 
his special religious themes. The wording is strong 
throughout, in parts rising to an easy majesty not 
reached by him elsewhere. 

After Providence I place discussions of several 
features of the Church and its partially detached 
members, which lead to consideration of the dif- 
ferences between the BibKcal Church and our 
own. CoNSTANCiE and The Foil show how un- 
shakable a man may become through righteous- 
ness; and then his complex and vacillating nature 
is shown in Man's Medley, Giddinesse, Van- 
iTiE, Dotage, Businesse, Sinnes Round, and 
The Water-Course. The pessimistic view of 
man's condition is a favorite with Herbert both 
on religious and poetic grounds. It shows the need 
of Atonement, and lends itself to decidedly pic- 
turesque treatment. The Pulley and Marie 
Magdalene point out our way of delivery from 
restlessness. The Passion of our Lord is set forth 
in several poems which from style I should sup- 
pose to be written early, but which are not in- 
cluded in the Williams Manuscript. At the end 
of the Group I have placed half-a-dozen trifles in 
which the fancy of Herbert plays sweetly with its 
own ingenuities. 



Introductory : 

These Knes, though not originally included in The 
Temple, may well find a place here. They were 
first printed in Walton's Life: "He then proceeded 
to rebuild the greatest part of the Parsonage-house, 
which he did also very compleatly, and at his own 
charge; and having done this good work, he caus'd 
these Verses to be writ upon or ingraven in, the 
Mantle of the Chimney in his Hall. " If this inscrip- 
tion ever existed at Bemerton, it long ago disap- 
peared. In recent years it has again been inscribed 
on the side of the Parsonage facing the Church. 
Thomas Fuller gives a variant of it in his Holy 
and Profane State, 1642: "A clergyman who built 
his house from the ground wrote on it this counsel 
to his successor: 

" If thou dost find 
An house built to thy mind, 

Without thy cost, 
Serve thou the more 
God and the poor; 

My labour is not lost." 

Bemerton Rectory. See Vol. /, p. 41. 



If thou chance for to find 
A new House to thy mind. 

And built without thy Cost, 
Be good to the Poor, 
As God gives thee store, 

And then my Labour's not lost. 


Date : 

Not found in W. This is the most considerable 
poem of the Bemerton years, in style far removed 
from The Church-Poech. Possibly it was begun 
at Cambridge, where Man was written, but, being 
reserved for correction and addition, was on this 
account not included in W. It certainly was fin- 
ished after Herbert's poetic powers had become fully 
formed, and was intended, as its closing stanzas 
indicate, as a kind of cHmax and epitome of all his 
thought. Seldom elsewhere does he treat facts in 
so objective a fashion. Providence was translated 
into Latin in 1678 by William Dillingham. 


Unique in stanza form. But alternate rhyming 
pentameters are also used by Herbert in A Wreath, 
IV, 115, Love Unknown, V, 179, and Grief, 
VI, 83. This stanza, the heroic quatrain, first 
used by Surrey, had been consecrated to philo- 
sophical reflection by Sir John Davies in his Nosce 
Teipsum. It was also used by Sylvester in his 
Urania, by Southwell in his Vale of Tears, and by 
Donne in several of his Epistles (among them one 
to Herbert's mother); subsequently by BeaumoAt 
in his Psyche, by Davenant in Gondibert, by 
Dryden in his OHver Cromwell and Annus Mira- 
bilis, and by Gray in his Elegy. 



"O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom 
hast thou made them all : " Psalm civ, 24. Through- 
out this poem Herbert has in mind the 104th Psalm, 
which in King James' Version is entitled, "An ex- 
hortation to bless the Lord for his mighty power 
and wonderful providence." But the Psalm merely 
sets forth the many marvels of the world; while the 
poem is a description of a world so ordered by 
evolutionary plan that the higher grades continually 
grow out of the lower and bring the significance 
of these to Hght. The conception of an organized 
universe with man as its crown (cf. Man, IV, 11) 
was first announced by Aristotle. Herbert may 
have derived his thought from some such passage as 
Metaph. XI, 10: "Whatever exists — fish, bird, or 
plant — has its special place in the scheme of things. 
There is nothing isolated and unrelated. All have 
reference to a common unity. While each part has 
its separate sphere, all also unite and contribute to 
the good of the whole." The poem has four parts: 
1. An Introduction (1. 1-28) on man's supreme and 
priestly character; after which comes the Psalm 
itself in two divisions; 2, the first (1. 29-92), cele- 
brating the fulness of God's house; and 3, the 
* second (1. 93-140), pointing out God's curious 
art in marshalling his goods. 4. A conclusion fol- 
lows (1. 141-152), announcing the obHgation and 
inadequacy of praise. 



1. Wisdom viii, 1. "Attingit a fine usque ad finem 
fortiter et disponit omnia suaviter." Wisdom 
reacheth from one end to another mightily; and 
sweetly doth she order all things. 
A. Do thee right (one of Herbert's few puns) = do thee 

8. Donne had already written (Satire, 1. 6): "Here is 
Nature's Secretary, the philosopher; " and Walton 
in his Life of Herbert calls Lord Bacon "the great 
Secretary of Nature." When Sylvester in Urania 
is urging the poets to write on sacred instead of 
secular themes, he says that then " all w^'ould admire 
your rymes and do you honour As Secretaries of 
the Heav'nly Court," 1. 185. 

9. Dittie^ — seek to give words to their songs, as in 
The Sacrifice, HI, 137, 1. 142, and The Fore- 
runners, VI, 77, 1. 11. The thought is repeated 
in MiSERiE, IV, 51, 1. 55-60. 

12. Psalm cxlv, 10. 

13. On the publication of Bacon's Instauratio Magna 
Herbert addressed him in a Latin poem as Mun- 
dique et animarum Sacerdos uniciis. •» 



O SACRED Providence, who from end to end 
Strongly and sweetly movest! Shall I write, 

And not of thee through whom my fingers bend 
To hold my quill ? Shall they not do thee right ? 

Of all the creatures both in sea and land 5 

Onely to Man thou hast made known thy wayes. 

And put the penne alone into his hand. 
And made him Secretarie of thy praise. 

Beasts fain would sing; birds dittie to their notes; 

Trees would be tuning on their native lute 10 
To thy renown; but all their hands and throats 

Are brought to Man, while ^they are lame and 

Man is the world's high Priest. He doth present 
The sacrifice for all; while they below 

Unto the service mutter an assent, 15 

Such as springs use that fall and windes that 


21-24. A tongue exists in you, beasts, tliat you may eat, 
in me that I may praise; as your fingers, O trees, 
can only offer fruit, while mine must write. 

27. i?e7i]^= recompense for use, not merely that derived 
from lands and houses as with us (cf. Content, 
IV, 151, 1. 28), but here from reason and speech. 

31. Repeated from 1. 2. 

32. So The Church Militant, VI, 119, 1. 8. 

33-35. In Herbert's mind there is probably some cor- 
respondence between the pair of terms of this 
stanza, command and permission, and the pair of 
the previous one, power and love. But if so, it is 
far from clear what the nature of the correspond- 
ence is. It is not easy to see how loving permis- 
sion should operate negatively as a curb, in contrast 
to the stimulating influence of command. In none 
of the four poems where power and love are coupled 
(Prayer, III, 185, 1. 20; The Temper, IV, 113, 
1. 27; The Method, V, 197, 1. 7; The Church 
Militant, VI, 119, 1. 10) is love represented as 
either permissive or restrictive. Perhaps this stanza 
may be explained thus : Action springs either from 
a sense of duty (divine command) or from natural 
instincts (permitted by God), which check that 
sluggishness and waste through indolence which 
are seldom absent from Herbert's thought of sin. 
(Cf. The Church-Porch, III, 19, 1. 38-96, and 
55, 1. 337-342; Employment, III, 103.) 


He that to praise and laud thee doth refrain 
Doth not refrain unto himself alone, 

But robs a thousand who would praise thee fain, 
And doth commit a world of sinne in one. 20 

The beasts say. Eat me; but if beasts must teach, 
The tongue is yours to eat, but mine to praise. 

The trees say. Pull me; but the hand you stretch 
Is mine to write, as it is yours to raise. 

Wherefore, most sacred Spirit, I here present 25 
For me and all my fellows praise to thee. 

And just it is that I should pay the rent. 
Because the benefit accrues to me. 

We all acknowledge both thy power and love 
To be exact, transcendent, and divine; 30 

Who dost so strongly and so sweetly move, 
While all things have their will, yet none but 

For either thy command or thy permission 

Lay hands on all. They are thy right and left. 

The first puts on with speed and expedition, 35 
The other curbs sinne's stealing pace and theft. 


40. The mention of tuning and tempering in the preced- 
ing lines suggests to Herbert how deeply we should 
be affected if all divine concords could be rendered 
audible, as in the supposed music of the spheres. 
(Artillerie, rV, 157, 1. 9.) 

41-44. Cf. The Church Militant, VI, 119, 1. 1-4. 

42. Even=hala,nced, constant. An equally unusual 
use of uneven appears in Faith, IV, 31, 1. 32. 

45. Psalm kv, 7. 

48. Jeremiah v, 22; Job xxxviii, 11. 

49. Psahn civ, 27; Man, IV, 15,1. 29. 
51. The net of the fish is its wide mouth. 

53. Nothing comes into the world before its fit food is 

56. Their, i. e. the creatures of the preceding line. 


Nothing escapes them both. All must appeare, 
And be dispos'd, and dress'd, and tun'd by thee, 

Who sweetly temper' st all. If we could heare 
Thy skill and art, what musick would it be! 40 

Thou art in small things great, not small in any, 
Thy even praise can neither rise nor fall. 

Thou art in all things one, in each thing many. 
For thou art infinite in one and all. 

Tempests are calm to thee. They know thy hand, 

And hold it fast, as children do their father's, 

Which crie and follow. Thou hast made poore 

sand 47 

Check the proud sea, ev'n when it swells and 


Thy cupboard serves the world. The meat is set 

Where all may reach. No beast but knows his 

feed. 50 

Birds teach us hawking; fishes have their net; 
The great prey on the lesse, they on some weed. 

Nothing ingendred doth prevent his meat : 

Flies have their table spread, ere they appeare; 

Some creatures have in winter what to eat, 55 
Others do sleep, and envie not their cheer. 


58. Tvnst=coTd. So The Pearl, IV, 179, 1. 38. 

61-72. In these three stanzas Herbert traces the economy 
of the universe, and shows how in each created thing 
there is a provision for maintaining its type. The 
old bird helps the young one, and so makes him 
strong enough to help himself. Nowhere does na- 
ture allow real loss, but through some circuitous 
process what has been spent is eventually restored. 
Bees draw food from flowers, but without harm to 
flower, bee, or man. Flowers are consumed by cat- 
tle, yet from cattle obtain their needed nutriment. 
Such nutriment feeds trees, which contribute their 
leaves to make soil for other trees. Out of the soil 
streams run into the sea, and from it, by way of the 
clouds, are themselves renewed. Clouds, produced 
by the sun's heat, become cooled and descend to 
form fresh springs. And springs can boil up in obe- 
dience to inner heat only when they at the same 
time send off from their cool upper surface that 
vapor from which they are ultimately resupplied. 


How finely dost thou times and seasons spin, 
And make a twist checker'd with night and day ! 

Which as it lengthens windes, and windes us in, 
As bouls go on, but turning all the way. 60 

Each creature hath a wisdome for his good. 

The pigeons feed their tender off-spring, crjdng. 
When they are callow; but withdraw their food 

When they are fledge, that need may teach them 
flying. 64 

Bees work for man; and yet they never bruise 
Their master's flower, but leave it, having done. 

As fair as ever and as fit to use; 

So both the flower doth stay, and hony run. 

Sheep eat the grasse and dung the ground for 


Trees, after bearing, drop their leaves for soil. 

Springs vent their streams, and by expense get 

store. 71 

Clouds cool by heat, and baths by cooling boil. 


75-76. T hat = tor expression. Herbert, always looging 
for larger powers of expression (cf. Praise, III, 95, 
DuLNEssE, V, 207, and The Forerunners, VI, 
77), wonders if an herb may not one day be dis- 
covered which will quicken speech. The subtle 
influence of certain herbs over mental conditions 
was at that time attracting attention. Tobacco 
and tea had just been introduced. Macbeth al- 
ready knows "the insane root that takes the reason 
captive;" and Othello "the poppy and mandragora 
and all the drowsy syrops of the world." 

77-80. Herbert has great interest in the stars, and ever 
incKnes to a belief in astrology. Such passages as 
The Pearl, IV, 177, 1. 5, The Foil, V, 123, and 
Vanitie, V, 133, 1. 7, are frequent; and the three 
strange poems which are wholly dedicated to the 
stars — Artillerie, IV, 157, The Starre, IV, 161, 
and The Storm, VI, 23 — suggest, whatever else, 
an easy access of celestial influence. The thought 
of this verse is compressed. A star, like the rose, 
is beautiful. Perhaps its virtues will eventuaUy 
be directed, like those of the rose, to our heal- 
ing. Undoubtedly there is in it abundant power 
for weal or woe, did we but know how to use it. 
Astrology is true, but the astrologist cannot find it : 
Jacula Prudentum. On the medicinal powers 
of the flower, see The Rose, IV, 187, 1. 18. 

83-84. Repeated in Avarice, V, 113, 1. 14. 


Who hath the vertue to expresse the rare 

And curious vertues both of herbs and stones ? 

Is there an herb for that ? O that thy care 75 
Would show a root that gives expressions! 

And if an herb hath power, what have the starres ? 

A rose, besides his beautie, is a cure. 
Doubtlesse our plagues and plentie, peace and 

Are there much surer then our art is sure. 80 

Thou hast hid metals. Man may take them thence, 
But at his perill. When he digs the place, 

He makes a grave; as if the thing had sense, 
And threatned man that he should fill the space. 


86. No creature is allowed through want of know- 
ledge to be destroyed by poison or to miss the 
antidote it needs. With this and with 1. 105 com- 
pare Herbert's Oration on the Return op 
Charles from Spain: Unamquamque regionem 
suam sibi sufjicere, neque externis indigere auxiliis 
neque antidotis. 

88. The /ear = the dreaded object. 

96. South f where cool surfaces are welcome; North, 
where protection is needed against cold. 

97. Good-cheap is dear : Jacula Prudentum. 

100. The harsh but stimulating cold is as needful for 
man as the easily gathered fruits. 


Ev'n poysons praise thee. Should a thing be lost ? 

Should creatures want for want of heed their 
Since where are poysons, antidots are most; 87 

The help stands close and keeps the fear in view. 

The sea, which seems to stop the traveller. 

Is by a ship the speedier passage made. 90 

The windes, who think they rule the mariner, 
Are rul'd by him and taught to serve his trade. 

And as thy house is full, so I adore 

Thy curious art in marshalHng thy goods. 
The hills with health abound; the vales with 
store; 95 

The South with marble ; North with furres and 

Hard things are glorious; easie things good cheap. 

The common all men have ; that which is rare 
Men therefore seek to have and care to keep. 

The healthy frosts with summer-fruits compare. 


102. S^a(Ze=theshelterfonned by overhanging branches. 

103-4. Tall and low are contrasted, the one meaning 
far from the ground, the other near to it. Low 
is used in the same sense in The Banquet, V, 
57, I. 40. 

104. Hawks are mentioned in 1. 51, in The Sacrifice, 
III, 131, 1. 91, and alluded to in The Pearl, IV, 
179, 1. 32. Other sports named by Herbert are 
bowling, fencing, archery, and cards ; but he no- 
where mentions ball-play, hunting, or dancing. 

112. In desire=a3 much as he needs. Cf. 1. 105. 

11^. Lay gather' di i. e. into lakes and the ocean. — 
JBroac/t=tap, so as to make streams run, as in 
DiviNiTiE, V, 99, 1. 9. 

118. Hcmy cZrop5= drops which make honey. 


Light without winde is glasse; warm without 

weight 101 

Is wool! and furres; cool without closenesse, 


Speed without pains, a horse; tall without height, 

A servile hawk; low without losse, a spade. 

All countreys have enough to serve their need. 105 
If they seek fine things, thou dost make them run 

For their offence; and then dost turn their speed 
To be commerce and trade from sunne to sunne. 

Nothing wears clothes but Man; nothing doth 

But he to wear them. Nothing useth fire 110 
But Man alone, to show his heav'nly breed. 

And onely he hath fuell in desire. 

When th' earth was dry, thou mad'st a sea of wet. 

When that lay gather'd, thou didst broach the 


When yet some places could no moisture get, 115 

The windes grew gard'ners, and the clouds good 


Rain, do not hurt my flowers, but gently spend 
Your hony drops! Presse not to smell them 

When they are ripe, their odour will ascend 119 
And at your lodging with their thanks appeare. 


121-124. Good qualities are sometimes divided, as 
in this stanza; sometimes united, as in the next. 

126. Indian wwi=cocoanut. 

127. Xan=drinking-cup. 

129-132. Besides the medical observations of this 
verse, others occur in 1. 78, 87, 100. For Herbert's 
general interest in medicine, see his Country 
Parson, XXIII; and for the similar interest of 
his brother, Lord Herbert, see Autobiography, 
Lee's ed., p. 52-59. 

133. Lea'p not: "Natura non facit saltum." There is 
no gap in nature or unfilled gradation, all parts 
are interlinked. This and the following line well 
sum up the fundamental doctrine of the poem, viz. 
that creation is ordered, compact, full (1. 93), 
evolutional, as Aristotle had suggested. So Man, 
IV, 13, 1. 15; Employment, IV, 145, 1. 21; Long- 
ing, VI, 45, 1. 53. 

135. Marry =ioTin a connecting hnk between. 

136. Out of the earth come coal and diamonds, which 
once were plants. Perhaps there is also allusion 
to the popular fancy that minerals grow. 


How harsh are thorns to pears ! And yet they make 
A better hedge, and need less reparation. 

How smooth are silks compared with a stake, 
Or with a stone ! Yet make no good foundation. 

Sometimes thou dost divide thy gifts to man, 125 
Sometimes unite. The Indian nut alone 

Is clothing, meat and trencher, drink and kan, 
Boat, cable, sail and needle, all in one. 

Most herbs that grow in brooks are hot and dry. 

Cold fruits' warm kernells help against the 
winde. 130 

The lemmon's juice and rinde cure mutually. 

The whey of milk doth loose, the milk doth binde. 

Thy creatures leap not, but expresse a feast 
Where all the guests sit close, and nothing wants. 

Frogs marry fish and flesh; bats, bird and beast; 

Sponges, non-sense and sense; mines,'th' earth 

and plants. 136 


138. Changest thy mode of action. Variation is as 
important a principle in nature as uniformity. 

140. Donne, Progress of the Soul, First Song, 385, says 
of the elephant: 

" Nature hath given him no knees to bend, 
Himself he up-props, on himself relies. 
Still sleeping stood." 

Sir Thomas Browne in his Vulgar Errors, Bk. Ill, 
ch. i, examines at length the popular belief that 
the elephant has no joints in his legs and conse- 
quently "sleepeth against a tree." 

141. Psalm cvi, 2. 

144. Owes, for owns. But Herbert also uses own. The 
Elixer, III, 101, 1. 23. 

145-152. These last two stanzas are alternative render- 
ings of a single theme, paralleling each other 
clause by clause. Probably at his death Herbert 
had not decided which of the two to keep as his 
ending; but though on the whole preferring 1. 145- 
148, he still wished to preserve in his manuscript 
1. 149-152 for future estimate. Ferrar, not noticing 
the duplicate character of the stanzas, printed 
them both. 

148. Twice, i. e. for me and all my fellows, 1. 26. This 
poem, then, would seem to have been written later 
than a large body of his verse. 

152. One waye more, i. e. as the world's high Priest, 1. 13. 


To show thou art not bound, as if thy lot 

Were worse then ours, sometimes thou shiftest 


Most things move th' under-jaw; the Crocodile 


Most things sleep lying; th' Elephant leans or 

stands. 140 

But who hath praise enough ? Nay who hath any ? 

None can expresse thy works but he that knows 
And none can know thy works, which are so many 

And so complete, but onely he that owes them. 

All things that are, though they have sev'rall 
wayes, 145 

Yet in their being joyn with one advise 
To honour thee. And so I give thee praise 

In all my other hymnes, but in this twice. 

[Each thing that is, although in use and name 
It go for one, hath many wayes in store 150 

To honour thee. And so each hymne thy fame 
ExtoUeth many wayes, yet this one more.] 



Not found in W. 

Metre : 

Used also in Church-Musick, III, 199, and Con- 
tent, IV, 149. 


We may easily be over-curious in theology, where in 
reality the plain truths are the important ones. Cf . 
Vanitie, V, 133. This sort of distinction between 
needless truth and practical truth nowhere appears 
in The Country Parson, but on the contrary, 
• Ch. V says: The Countrey Parson hath compiled a 
hook and body of Divinity , which is the storehouse 
of his Sermons and which he preacheth all his Life, 


1. This stanza well illustrates the kind of intellectual 
humor of which Herbert is fond (I, 65). Men 
devise celestial globes to mark the courses of the 
stars, and books of divinity to mark the ways of God, 
— fantastic, mechanical representations, harder to 
comprehend than the realities which they inter- 
pret. On the nature of these spheres, see the note 
on Prater, III, 183, 1. 9. 
8. Faith is maimed by the incisiveness of reason. 



As men, for fear the starres should sleep and nod 
And trip at night, have spheres suppli'd, 

As if a starre were duller then a clod. 

Which knows his way without a guide; 

Just so the other heav'n they also serve, S 

Divinitie's transcendent skie. 
Which with the edge of wit they cut and carve. 

Reason triumphs, and faith lies by. 


9. To broach is to make an opening in a cask for liquid 
to run out, as in The Agonie, V, 153, 1. 15. The 
blood of Christ's wounded side is mentioned in 
seven other passages. See The Bag, V, 157. 

1 1 . Fine = had it been a fashionably cut garment. " The 
metaphor was suggested, no doubt, by the quaintly 
carved, cut, slashed, and paned dresses of Herbert's 
time:" A. B. Grosart. — Jag=io cut into points. 
We still use it in the adjective jagged. 

15. Which onely save=Qxe the only ones which save. 

24. And is not obscure. 

25. A term of the Ptolemaic astronomy. Do not keep 
making finer and finer hypotheses to explain the 
subtleties of heavenly facts. 

26. The spheres of 1. 2. Save yourself such mental 
strain, 1. 7. 

27. The staffe may here be the surveyor's staff of The 
Agonie, V, 153, 1. 3. 


Could not that wisdome which first broacht the 

Have thicken'd it with definitions ? 10 

And jagg'd his seamlesse coat, had that been fine, 

With curious questions and divisions ? 

But all the doctrine which he taught and gave 
Was cleare as heav'n, from whence it came. 

At least those beams of truth which onely save 15 
Surpasse in brightnesse any flame. 

Love God and love your neighbour. Watch and 

Do as ye would he done unto. 
O dark instructions ! Ev'n as dark as day ! 

Who can these Gordian knots undo ? 20 

But he doth bid us take his bloud for wine. 

Bid what he please! Yet I am sure 
To take and taste what he doth there designe 

Is all that saves, and not obscure. 

Then bum thy Epicycles, foolish man. ' 25 

Break all thy spheres and save thy head. 

Faith needs no staffe of flesh, but stoutly can 
To heav'n alone both go and leade. 



Not found in W. 

Metre : 



The English Church, a beautiful mean between the 
tawdry Romish and barren Presbyterian. So Epi- 
grammata Apologetica, XXVIII. Cf . Donne, Satire 
III, 43-62. 

Notes : 

5. It might be thought that Herbert is here approving 
the ecclesiastical practice of dating by the Church 
Year. But all his letters, even those from Bemer- 
ton, are dated by the secular month and day. 

10. Outlandish =ioTeign and strange, as in Faith, IV, 
29, 1. 9, and in the title of Jacula Prudentum, 
"Outlandish Proverbs." 

11. Pamieci= artificial, unreal, as in Jordan, III, 



I JOY, deare Mother, when I view 
Thy perfect lineaments, and hue 

Both sweet and bright. 
Beautie in thee takes up her place. 
And dates her letters from thy face 5 

When she doth write. 

A fine aspect in fit array. 

Neither too mean, nor yet too gay, 

Shows who is best. 
Outlandish looks may not compare, 10 
For all they either painted are. 

Or else undrest. 


14. The Church of Rome, throned on her seven hills, 
a world-church, was more attractive to ambitious 
men than the local church of England. 

16. Rome has tolerated a sentimental artificiality in so 
many details of her worship that her whole system 
of religion has come to seem artificial, her face to 
be daubed with paint, 1. 11. 

26. The mean=\he middle path, Aristotle's fiearoTT]?. 
Cf . The Country Parson, XIII : All this he doth 
not as out of necessity ^ or as putting a holiness in 
the things, but as desiring to keep the middle way 
between superstition and slovenlinesse. 

29. To make thee as secure as a castle with two moats, 
protected against the twofold dangers of ostenta- 
tion and disorder. The religious disturbances of 
his time Herbert discusses also in the next poem, 
in The Priesthood, IV, 171, 1. 33, and allegori- 
cally in Humilitie, IV, 35. 


She on the hills which wantonly 
AUureth all, in hope to be 

By her preferr'd, 15 

Hath kiss'd so long her painted shrines 
That ev'n her face by kissing shines, 

For her reward. 

She in the valley is so shie 

Of dressing that her hair doth lie 20 

About her eares; 
While she avoids her neighbour's pride, 
She wholly goes on th' other side, 

And nothing wears. 

But dearest Mother, (what those misse,) 25 
The mean, thy praise and glorie is 

And long may be. 
Blessed be God, whose love it was 
To double-moat thee with his grace. 

And none but thee. 30 


Date : 

Not found in W. 
Metre : 

Subject : 

Divisions within the church (schismes) are more 

serious than attacks from without (rents). 
Notes : 

1. Perhaps he is led to figure the Church, Christ's 
body, as a rose on account of the Rose of Sharon, 
(Song of Solomon ii, 1). But quite as likely the 
rose is employed merely as the object which is fair- 
est; cf. The Rose, IV, 187, 1. 17. — C/iair= throne, 
stately place. So, too, 1. 10, and The Temper, IV, 
109, 1. 9. 

2. Triumph, accented on the last syllable as in Divin- 
itie, V, 97, 1. 8. 

5. So Peace, IV, 173, 1. 17. 

6. Perhaps bottome here means not the under part, but 
the stem. Cf. The Discharge, V, 191, 1. 45. 



Brave rose, (alas !) where art thou ? In the chair 

Where thou didst lately so triumph and shine 
A worm doth sit, whose many feet and hair 

Are the more foul the more thou wert divine. 
This, this hath done it, this did bite the root 5 

And bottome of the leaves ; which when the 
Did once perceive, it blew them under foot. 

Where rude unhallow'd steps do crush and 
Their beauteous glories. Onely shreds of thee, 
And those all bitten, in thy chair I see. 10 


14. Martyrdoms. Foxe's Book of Martyrs was pub- 
lished thirty years before Herbert was born. 
17. Cf. The World, IV, 23, 1. 13. 

22. North-winde; cf. 1. 6. The influence of Scotch 
Presbyterianism was continually increasing in 
England. Possibly we may find here an allusion 
to Melville's Anti-Tami-Cami-Categoria, which in 
early life Herbert had answered (I, 25). 

23. Them— your sev'rall parts (1. 21). 

27. When only this little spot of earth is awake to the 

Gospel, shall we here be disunited ? 
29. The thought of these two lines is expanded in 

Grief, VI, 83, 1. 1-10. 


Why doth my Mother blush ? Is she the rose 

And shows it so? Indeed Christ's precious 
Gave you a colour once; which when your foes 

Thought to let out, the bleeding did you good. 
And made you look much fresher then before. 15 

But when debates and fretting jealousies 
Did worm and work within you more and more. 

Your colour faded, and calamities 
Turned your ruddie into pale and bleak. 
Your health and beautie both began to break. 20 

Then did your sev'rall parts unloose and start. 

Which when your neighbours saw, Kke a north- 
They rushed in and cast them in the dirt, 

Where Pagans tread. O Mother deare and 
Where shall I get me eyes enough to weep, 25 

As many eyes as starres ? Since it is night. 
And much of Asia and Europe fast asleep, 

And ev'n all Africk. Would at least I might 
With these two poore ones Uck up all the dew 
Which falls by night, and poure it out for you 1 



Vaughan has enlarged this in his poem, The Jews. 

There is a curious passage on the Jews in The 

Country Parson, XXXIV. 

Not found in W. 

Unique, but differs only in rhyming system from 

Justice, VI, 13. 

Christianity grafted upon Judaism has absorbed 

the vitality of the Jews, and should now repay. Cf . 

Romans xi, 17-21. 
Notes : 

2. Cyens=scions» grafts. 

3. By Apostolic succession. Cf. Whitsunday, III, 
159, 1. 17. 

6. By keeping the letter, they lose it. 
8. Revelation viii, 6. 
12. Job xiv, 9. 



PooRE nation, whose sweet sap and juice 
Our cyens have purloin'd, and left you drie; 

Whose streams we got by the Apostles' sluce 
And use in baptisme, while ye pine and die; 
Who, by not keeping once, became a debter, 5 

And now by keeping lose the letter; 

Oh that my prayers! mine, alas! 
Oh that some Angel might a trumpet sound, 

At which the Church falling upon her face 
Should crie so loud untill the trump were drown'd, 
And by that crie of her deare Lord obtain 11 

That your sweet sap might come again! 


Date : 

Not found in W. 

Metre : 



The preferring of Barabbas (popularity with the 
multitude), or of Judas (gold), to Christ has not 
ceased in our day. 

Notes : 

6. That choice=\h.e choosing of Barabbas. Thy 
storie=\he description of you. Storie is used five 
times by Herbert in this sense, and also rhyming 
with glorie: The Church-Porch, III, 21, 1. 52, 
and 25, 1. 94, Complaining, VI, 27, 1. 7, and A 
Dialogue- Antheme, VI, 103, 1. 3. Cf., too, Cra- 
shaw's Wishes to his Supposed Mistress: "Be you 
my fictions, but her story." 
10, John viii, 44. 

12. Her where we should use its, which was hardly es- 
tablished in Herbert's time. 

18. So Vaughan in his Rules and Lessons, p. 45: "Who 
sells Religion is a Judas- Jew." In The Country 
Parson, II, Herbert writes : They who for the hope 
of promotion neglect any necessary admonition or 
reproof e, sell (with Judas) their Lord and Master. 

19. Prei;e7if= anticipate. 1 Corinthians xi, 31. 

20. That light= conscience. Proverbs xx, 27; John i, 9. 



Thou who condemnest Jewish hate 
For choosing Barabbas, a murderer, 
Before the Lord of glorie. 
Look back upon thine own estate, 
Call home thine eye (that busie wanderer), 5 
That choice may be thy storie. 

He that doth love, and love amisse. 
This world's delights before true Christian joy, 
Hath made a Jewish choice. 
The world an ancient murderer is; 10 

Thousands of souls it hath, and doth destroy 
With her enchanting voice. 

He that hath made a sorrie wedding 
Between his soul and gold, and hath preferred 

False gain before the true, 15 

Hath done what he condemnes in reading; 
For he hath sold for money his deare Lord, 
And is a Judas- Jew. 

Thus we prevent the last gre^t day. 
And' judge our selves. That Ught which sin and 
passion 20 

Did before dimme and choke. 
When once those snuffes are ta*ne away, 
Shines bright and cleare, ev'n unto condemnation. 
Without excuse or cloke. 



Not found in W. 
Metre : 

Of seventeen sonnets, six — like this — are in the 
Shakespearian form. 

Money, though created by maA, has become his 

1. 1 Timothy vi, 10. 

9. Forcing; cf. The Pearl, TV, 177, 1. 6. 
10. The face of maw = the king's head on the coin. 
14. So, too, Providence, V, 87, 1. 82-84. 



Money, thou bane of bKsse and sourse of wo, 

Whence com'st thou that thou art so fresh and 
I know thy parentage is base and low, 

Man found thee poore and dirtie in a mine. 
Surely thou didst so little contribute 5 

To this great kingdome which thou now hast 
That he was fain, when thou wert destitute. 

To digge thee out of thy dark cave and grot. 
Then forcing thee by fire, he made thee bright. 

Nay, thou hast got the face of man, for we 10 
Have with our stamp and seal transferr'd our right ; 

Thou art the man, and man but drosse to thee. 
Man calleth thee his wealth, who made thee rich. 
And while he digs out thee, falls in the ditch. 

114 DECAY 


Not found in W. 


Unique, but differs only in rhyming system from 
Jordan, III, 87. 


Throughout recorded history the field of inter- 
course between God and man has steadily nar- 
rowed. Cf. Whitsunday, III, 157. 


1-3. Genesis xix, 3; xxxii, 24; xviii, 33; Judges vi, 11. 

4. To-day God silently endures human complaints; 
with Moses He was so intimate that He could 
speak and check them. Exodus xxxii, 14. 

5. Exodus xxxii, 10. 

7. Judges vi, 11; Exodus iii, 2; 1 Kings xix, 9; Genesis 

xxiv, 11. 
9. Exodus xix, 20. 
10. Exodus xxviii, 33-35. Cf. Aaron, V, 11, 1. 3. 

12. Luke xvii, 21. 

13. (Smne= original sin ; Satan may refer to present 
ill-doing. Cf. Self-Condemnation, V, 111, 1. 20. 

15. The portion left by Sin and Satan, who are here 
figured as independent. 

IQ. Whenas= since thy love — once widespread, but 
now forced back by sin — keeps itself hidden, 
awaiting the flames of the judgment day. 

18. Closet up itself. Cf. Whitsunday, III, 159, 1. 21. 



Sweet were the dayes when thou didst lodge with 


Struggle with Jacob, sit with Gideon, 

Advise \^th Abraham, when thy power could not 

Encounter Moses' strong complaints and mone. 

Thy words were then, Let me alone. 5 

One might have sought and found thee presently 
At some fair oak, or bush, or cave, or well. 

Is my God this way ? No, they would reply. 
He is to Sinai gone as we heard tell. 9 

List, ye may heare great Aaron's bell. 

But now thou dost thy self immure and close 
In some one corner of a feeble heart. 

Where yet both Sinne and Satan, thy old foes, 
Do pinch and straiten thee and use much art 
To gain thy thirds and little part. 15 

I see the world grows old, whenas the heat 
Of thy great love once spread, as in an urn 

Doth closet up itself and still retreat. 
Cold sinne still forcing it, till it return, 

And calling Justice, all things bum. 20 



Another poem with this title is given, VI, 13. This 
much resembles Death, IV, 59. 

Not found in W. 


The justice of God, as revealed by Christ, is friendly, 
not hostile. 
5. Discolour = take away the living color, make thee 
ghastly. The word is used again in Affliction, 
VI, 29, 1. 10. 
7. The dishes are the pans of the scales of justice. The 
beam is the cross-piece from which the dishes hang; 
the scape, the upright part at right angles with the 
10. TortWing, thus spelled in ed. 1633, meaning tortur- 
ing, has often been erroneously printed tottering. 
13. 2 Corinthians iii, 14. — Pt*re= transparent. 
19, 21. The emphatic words are me and thee. 



O DREADFULL Justicc, what a fright and terrour 
Wast thou of old, 
When sinne and errour 
Did show and shape thy looks to me, 
And through their glasse discolour thee ! 5 
He that did but look up was proud and bold. 

The dishes of thy ballance seem'd to gape, 
Like two great pits. 
The beam and scape 
Did like some tort'ring engine show. 10 
Thy hand above did burn and glow, 
Danting the stoutest hearts, the proudest wits. 

But now that Christ's pure vail presents the sight, 
I see no fears. 

Thy hand is white, 15 

Thy scales Hke buckets, which attend 
And interchangeably descend. 
Lifting to heaven from this well of tears. 

For where before thou still didst call on me, 

Now I still touch 20 

And harp on thee. 
God's promises have made thee mine. 
Why should I justice now decline ? 
Against me there is none, but for me much. 



Several writers of Herbert's time — N. Breton, 
Chapman, J. Earle, Bishop Hall, Sir T. Overbury, 
and, in modified form, Sir J. Davies — had made 
elaborate studies of single human traits, much in the 
manner of Theophrastus in his Characters. This 
poem, so unlike Herbert's other work, is an experi- 
ment in following the current fashion. Vaughan 
imitates it in his Righteousness. The Standard of 
Equality, by Philo-Decaeus, was dedicated in 1647 
to Sir John Danvers, the stepfather of Herbert, in 
these words: "Lighting casually on the poems of 
Mr. George Herbert, lately deceased, (whose pious 
life and death have converted me to a full belief 
that there is a St. George,) and therein perusing 
the description of a constant man, it directed my 
thoughts unto yourself; having heard that the au- 
thor in his lifetime had therein designed no other 
title than your character in that description." These 
are the words of a flattering dedicator. Few persons 
could be found less like Herbert's Constant Man 
than Sir John Danvers. See I, 24. 


Not found in W. 

Metre : 


Subject: ' 

The sturdy righteousness which is not prompted 
or checked by expediency. Perhaps he has in mind 
the 101st Psalm, which in The Country Parson, 



Who is the honest man ? 
He that doth still and strongly good pursue, 
To God, his neighbour, and himself most true. 

Whom neither force nor fawning can 
Unpinne or wrench from giving all their due. 5 

Whose honestie is not 
So loose or easie that a ruffling winde 
Can blow away, or glittering look it blinde. 

Who rides his sure and even trot 9 

While the world now rides by, now lags behinde. 

Who, when great trials come, 
Nor seeks nor shunnes them; but doth cahnly 

TiU he the thing and the example weigh. 

All being brought into a summe. 
What place or person calls for, he doth pay. 15 


X, he advises should be expressed in a fayre table as 
being the rule of a family, and hung upon the wall. 

1. Cf. Psalm XV, and Horace's Integer Vitae. A vig- 
orous paraphrase of the latter had just appeared in 
Campion's The Man of Life Upright. The virtue 
of Constande was a favorite one with Herbert; 
cf. The Chuech-Porch, HI, 27, 1. 115-120. 
6. Vaughan has paraphrased this stanza in his Rules 

and Lessons, stanza ix. 
8. Glittering look, a dazzling glance of the great can- 
not make the honest man shut his eyes to iniquity. 

13. The thing and the example= the principle and its 
special application. 

20. Cf. Donne, Letter to Lady Carey, 1. 34. The 
three words in Herbert's stanza which formerly 
rhymed are now all pronounced differently. 

24. Others do right so long as eyes can see them. He 
regards only Virtue's all-observing eye. 

26-30. 1 forget alt things so I may do them good who 
want it. So I do my part to them, let them think 
of me what they will or can. If I should regard 
such things, it were in another's power to defeat 
my charity, and evil should be stronger than good : 
Herbert's letter to his brother Henry, 1630. 

31. When the world's game runs counter to his right- 
eous purposes (cf. Affliction, IV, 141, 1. 53), no- 
thing can induce him to distort his movements 
away from his purpose into conformity with evil. 


Whom none can work or wooe 
To use in any thing a trick or sleight, 
For above all things he abhorres deceit. 

His words and works and fashion too 
All of a piece, and all are cleare and straight. 20 

Who never melts or thaws 
At close tentations. When the day is done. 
His goodnesse sets not, but in dark can runne. 

The sunne to others writeth laws, 
And is their vertue. Vertue is his Sunne. 25 

Who, when he is to treat 
With sick folks, women, those whom passions 

Allows for that and keeps his constant way. 

Whom others' faults do not defeat; 29 

But though men fail him, yet his part doth play. 

Whom nothing can procure. 
When the wide world runnes bias, from his will 
To writhe his limbes, and share, not mend the ill. 

This is the Mark-man, safe and sure. 
Who still is right, and prayes to be so still. 35 



A foil is a piece of metal employed as a setting for 
a jewel, in order to give it richer color. Cf . To the 
QuEENE OF Bohemia, VI, 185, 1. 16. So Shake- 
speare, Lover's Complaint, 1. 153: 

" Which remain'd the foil 
Of this false jewel, and his amorous spoil." 


Not found in W. 
Metre : 


Grief brings out the nature of sin as heaven does 

that of virtue. 

1. If we below could see. 

8. Grief. Is this possibly a misprint for sin ? In 1. 6 

vertues and sinning are parallel. The sense seems 

to require that they should be so here. 



If we could see below 
The sphere of vertue and each shining grace 

As plainly as that above doth show. 
This were the better skie, the brighter place. 

God hath made starres the foil 
To set off vertues, griefs to set off sinning. 

Yet in this wretched world we toil 
As if grief were not foul, nor vertue winning. 



Translated into Latin in 1678 by William Dilling- 
ham, with the title Gaudium. 


Not found in W. 




"Man has double joys and sorrows, answering 
to his double nature; but the soul's joys are to 
be preferred, as lasting into the world beyond:" 
H. C. Beeching. 

Notes : 

8. Make their pretence=la.y hold upon. See Jordan, 
III, 93, 1. 16. 



Heark, how the birds do sing, 
And woods do ring! 
All creatures have their joy, and man hath his. 

Yet if we rightly measure, 

Man's joy and pleasure 5 

Rather hereafter then in present is. 

To this Hfe things of sense 

Make their pretence; 
In th' other Angels have a right by birth. 

Man ties them both alone, 10 

And makes them one, 
With th' one hand touching heav'n, with th' other 


15. A dark passage, the difficulties mainly connecting 
themselves with the significance of lace, the mean- 
ing of after f and the subject of should. The curious 
lace may represent that beauty (cf. Peace, IV, 173, 
1. 9; The Pearl, IV, 177, 1. 16) which, everywhere 
fringing physical objects, seems never really to be- 
long to them. Still further along in the spiritual 
direction, next after this beautiful trimming, — 
rather than after, or in accordance with, his ma- 
terial stuff, — man (he of 1. 15) should take his place 
or get his significance. So interpreted, the passage 
would be a characteristic bit of Herbert's Plato- 
nism. But the sense of after is severely strained. In 
Employment, IV, 143, 1. 12, the stuff or material 
of our life is said to be with God. 

30. Herbert uses the same rhyme in the second stanza, 
and often elsewhere. Throughout the seventeenth 
century the word one was pronounced not Kke our 
won, but like our own; as we still pronounce it 
in alone, and sometimes in none and only. See 
Sepulchre, V, 155, 1. 3. 


In soul he mounts and flies, 

In flesh he dies. 14 

He wears a stuffe whose thread is coarse and round, 

But trimm'd with curious lace. 

And should take place 
After the trimming, not the stuffe and ground. 

Not that he may not here 

Taste of the cheer; 20 

But as birds drink and straight lift up their head, 

So must he sip and think 

Of better drink 
He may attain to after he is dead. 

But as his joyes are double, 25 

So is his trouble. 
He hath two winters, other things but one. 

Both frosts and thoughts do nip 

And bite his Up, 
And he of all things fears two deaths alone. 30 

Yet ev'n the greatest griefs 
May be reliefs. 
Could he but take them right and in their wayes. 

Happie is he whose heart 

Hath found the art 35 

To turn his double pains to double praise. 



Not found in W. 


Used also in Dulnesse, V, 207. 


"Unite my heart to fear thy name:" Psalm Ixxxvi, 
11. There is likeness of thought between this 
poem and Miserie, IV, 47, where man's wretch- 
edness is attributed to his instabiUty. 

Notes : 
11. Snudge=io lie snug, to sleep. So Vaughan under- 
stands it in his Misery, 1. 65 : 

" The age, the present times, are not 
To snudge in and embrace a cot." 



Oh, what a thing is man ! How farre from power, 

From setled peace and rest! 
He is some twentie sev'rall men at least 

Each sev'rall houre. 4 

One while he counts of heav'n as of his treasure; 

But then a thought creeps in 
And calls him coward who for fear of sinne 
Will lose a pleasure. 

Now he will fight it out and to the warres; 

Now eat his bread in peace 10 

And snudge in quiet. Now he scorns increase; 
Now all day spares. 


12. Spares = saves his money, is sparing, — its usual 
meaning in Herbert. Spare in its other sense • — to 
part with — occurs in Herbert only rarely. Mor- 
tification, IV, 57, 1. 34. 

15. It is partly true that a whirlwind blows, for his 
mind is like a whirlwind. 

17. Cf. The Church-Porch, III, 17, 1. 23. 

19. In dying the dolphin takes on a variety of colors, 
which Herbert attributes to its changing feelings. 
So Byron, Childe Harold, IV, stanza xxix: 

" Parting day 
Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues 
With a new colour as it gasps away." 


He builds a house, which quickly down must go, 
As if a whirlwinde blew 14 

And crusht the building; and it's partly true, 
His minde is so. 

O what a sight were Man if his attires 

Did alter with his minde; 
And Uke a Dolphin's skinne, his clothes combin'd 
With his desires! 20 

Surely if each one saw another's heart. 
There would be no commerce, 
No sale or bargain passe. All would disperse. 
And live apart. 

Lord, mend or rather make us. One creation 25 

Will not suffice our turn. 
Except thou make us dayly, we shall spurn 
Our own salvation. 



Another poem with this title is given, IV, 153. 

Not found in W. 


Man's zeal and success in pursuing things remote 
and unimportant. Cf. Divinitie, V, 97. 

1. For the appropriateness of these words bore and 

thred see note on Prayer, III, 183, 1. 9. 
3. Cf. The Agonie, V, 153, 1. 3. 
7. " Aspects = the appearance of the planets in their re- 
lation to each other, and therefore in their supposed 
influence on earthly matters : " A. R. Waller. — FvU- 
ey'd is used again in The Glance, VI, 91, 1. 20. 
14. A similar thought appears in Providence, V, 87, 
1. 81. 



The fleet Astronomer can bore 
And thred the spheres with his quick-piercing 

He views their stations, walks from doore to doore, 
Surveys as if he had design'd 4 

To make a purchase there. He sees their dances, 

And knoweth long before 
Both their fuU-ey'd aspects and secret glances. 

The nimble Diver with his side 
Cuts through the working waves, that he may 
fetch 9 

His dearely-eamed pearl, which God did hide 

On purpose from the ventrous wretch; 
That he might save his Ufe, and also hers 

Who with excessive pride 
Her own destruction and his danger wears. 


15. From any created object the chemist can strip the 
outward traits, and by analysis lay bare the ulti- 
mate elements, studying these in their detachment 
instead of in those composite forms in which they 
usually present themselves to our senses. 

17. Ca//ow= unfledged. Providence, V, 85, 1. 63. 

23. So in The Church-Porch, III, 15, 1. 9, we read 
of God*s lesson written in the soul. Jeremiah xxxi, 

26. Romans x, 6-8. 


The subtil Chymick can devest 15 

And strip the creature naked, till he finde 
The callow principles within their nest. 

There he imparts to them his minde, 
Admitted to their bed-chamber, before 19 

They appeare trim and drest 
To ordinarie suitours at the doore. 

What hath not man sought out and found, 
But his deare God ? Who yet his glorious law 
Embosomes in us, mellowing the ground 24 

With showres and frosts, with love and 
So that we need not say, Where's this command ? 
Poore man, thou searchest round 
To finde out death, but missest life at hand. 



Not found in W. 

Unique, but differs only in rhyming system from 

The Priesthood, TV, 169. 

Doting man mistakes nothing for something. 
Notes : 

1. GZo3m9= flatteringly deceptive. So Milton, Para- 
dise Lost, III, 93: "Man will hearken to his gloz- 
ing Hes." — CasJcs=em:pty barrels. Dr. Grosart 
proposes the emendation husks to correspond with 
rooted miseries in the next stanza. 

2. Night-fires =ignes fatui, will-o'-the-wisps. 

3. Chases in ^7Ta5= hunting-parties in silk, instead 
of in flesh and bone, — contrasted with the sure- 
footed griefs of 1. 9. 

4. Career=iu\l tilt, as in Joseph's Coat, VI, 61, 
1. 6. 

5. In Vanitie, IV, 153, 1. 4, solid work is contrasted 
with false emhroyderies. There is a Spanish pro- 
verb: "Nada entre duos platos." 

7. Same phrase in Obedience, IV, 183, 1. 28. 

8. In grain= going through and through. — Ripe and 
blown= in full flower. 

14. In The Country Parson, XV, Herbert speaks 
of the miserable comparison of the moment of griefs 
here with the weight of joyes hereafter. 



False glozing pleasures, casks of happinesse, 
FooKsh night-fires, women's and children's 
Chases in Arras, guilded emptinesse, 
Shadows well mounted, dreams in a career, 4 
Embroider'd lyes, nothing between two dishes; 
These are the pleasures here. 

True earnest sorrows, rooted miseries. 

Anguish in grain, vexations ripe and blown. 

Sure-footed griefs, soHd calamities. 

Plain demonstrations, evident and cleare, 10 

Fetching their proofs ev'n from the very bone; 
These are the sorrows here. 

But oh the folly of distracted men. 

Who griefs in earnest, joyes in jest pursue; 
Preferring, Uke brute beasts, a lothsome den 15 
Before a court, ev'n that above so cleare. 
Where are no sorrows, but delights more true 
Then miseries are here! 



Not found in W. 

Metre : 

The couplets are like those of Antiphon, III, 107. 
The triplets are unique. The rhyming vowel at the 
beginning and near the end is a. All the other 
rh3mies are in e or o. 


After sinning, there is only one business, — ener- 
getic repentance. Lines 3-14 (the human side of 
sin) c(^rrespond with lines 17-28 (the divine side). 


1. Idle here and in 1. 15= indifferent, doing nothing 
about it, the quality described at length in Miserie, 
rV, 47. 
3. Elsewhere waters know their work and seek their 
end. How is it with the waters of the eye ? 

8. The man of faults and fears will need tears. 

9. Plot: it is their plan or scheme to be never at rest. 
14. If you will not put yourself to the slight pain of 

repentance, it is a pity you have a body in which 
pungent effects of sin must be recorded. These 
lines correspond with 1. 7 and 8. 



Canst be idle ? Canst thou play. 
Foolish soul, who sinn'd to day ? 

Rivers run, and springs each one 

Know their home, and get them gone. 

Hast thou tears, or hast thou none ? 5 

If, poore soul, thou hast no tears. 
Would thou hadst no faults or fears! 
Who hath these, those ill forbears. 

Windes still work; it is their plot. 

Be the season cold or hot. 10 

Hast thou sighs, or hast thou not ? 

If thou hast no sighs or grones. 
Would thou hadst no flesh and bones! 
Lesser pains scape greater ones. 

/ But if yet thou idle be, 15 

Foolish soul, who di'd for thee ? 


22. The death of the body and of the soul. Revelation 
xxi, 8. Cf. Man's Medley, V, 127, 1. 30. 

24. Everything in this poem is antithetic: rivers and 
tears are offset against windes and sighs; Christ's 
life against his death; our losing gold against our 
finding silver; and all in illustration of the gi^at 
antithesis of sin and salvation. 

28. The present life, and the life of misery hereafter. 

29. Can man properly take time to breathe between 
committing sin and accepting the new life offered 
by Christ's death? 

32. His crosse=}n3 affliction. 

33. Shall he not tell his Lord of his loss ? 


Who did leave his Father's throne 
To assume thy flesh and bone ? 
Had he hfe, or had he none ? 

If he had not liv'd for thee, 20 

Thou hadst di'd most wretchedly, 
And two deaths had been thy fee. 

He so farre thy good did plot 

That his own self he forgot. 

Did he die, or did he not ? 25 

If he had not di'd for thee. 
Thou hadst Uv'd in miserie. 
Two Kves worse then ten deaths be. 

And hath any space of breath 29 

'Twixt his sinnes and Saviour's death ? 

He that loseth gold, though drosse, 
Tells to all he meets his crosse. 
He that sinnes, hath he no losse ? 

He that findes a silver vein 

Thinks on it, and thinks again. 35 

Brings thy Saviour's death no gain ? 

Who in heart not ever kneels 
Neither sinne nor Saviour feels. 


Date : 

Not found in W. 


The same as that of The Church-Porch, except 
that this is a case of "link-verse," i. e. the last 
Kne of each stanza is the first line of the next, and 
the last line of the poem connects with the first. 
This structure, which at first seems merely ingen- 
ious, really expresses as no other could the self- 
perpetuating character of sin. Such beginnings 
touch their end. — Southwell in his St. Peter's 
Complaint, stanza cxiii (1595), has this stanza: 

" My eye reades moumfull lessons to my hart, 

My hart doth to my thought the greefes expound, 

My thought the same doth to my tongue impart, 
My tongue the message in the eares doth sound; 

My eares back to my hart their sorrowes send ; 

Thus circling greefes rmme round without an end." 

And Donne had already employed the device, though 
with far less dehcacy and appropriateness, in his 
Corona or circlet of Divine Sonnets, where the 
last line of each is repeated as the first line of 
the next, and the last line of the seventh sonnet 
is the first line of the first. Several of Daniel's son- 
nets are similarly linked. In the following poem 
Herbert uses this metre with another fanciful 
modification of the last line. 

Admit the beginnings of sin, and evil thoughts, 
words, and deeds follow in a never-ending round. 



SoRRiE I am, my God, some I am 
That my offences course it in a ring. 

My thoughts are working like a busie flame 
Untill their cockatrice they hatch and bring. 4 

And when they once have perfected their draughts. 

My words take fire from my inflamed thoughts. 


Notes : 
4. For ancient beliefs about this fabulous monster, 
see Isaiah lix, 5, and xiv, 29. For both ancient and 
modern beliefs that "he proceedeth from a cock's 
eggy hatched under a toad or serpent, killeth at a 
distance and poisoneth by the eye/* see Sir T. 
Browne's Vulgar Errors, III, 7. Spenser has him 
in The Amoretti, XLIX : " Kill with looks as cocka- 
trices do." 

8. Mount Aetna. 

9. This rhyme occurs in three other poems. 

10. To bring evil out into the air kindles its flame 
anew. Cf. The Odour, V, 25, 1. 25. 

12. So Jacuia Prudentum: Sins are not known till 
they be acted. 

15. Genesis xi, 4. 

17. The same sinful sequence appears in Marie Mag- 
dalene, V, 151, 1. 12. 


My words take fire from my inflamed thoughts, 
Which spit it forth Kke the SiciKan hill. 

They vent the wares and passe them with their 
And by their breathing ventilate the ill. 10 

But words suffice not where are lewd intentions; 

My hands do joyn to finish the inventions. 

My hands do joyn to finish the inventions. 

And so my sinnes ascend three stories high, 
As Babel grew before there were dissentions. 15 

Yet ill deeds loyter not, for they supplie 
New thoughts of sinning. Wherefore, to my shame, 
Sorrie I am, my God, sorrie I am. 



Dualism is deep in Herbert. His universe presents 
itself in antithetic pairs. Man and God, nature 
and spirit, pleasure and duty, death and life, — to 
these irreconcilable opposites his thought continu- 
ally recurs. Between them he recognizes no inner 
kinship, as do Vaughan, Crashaw, and the Mys- 
tics. For him approach to the one is ever denial 
of the other. This pessimistic little poem, with its 
two stanzas and contrasted endings, is an extreme 
exhibit of his temper. 


Not found in W. 


A special adaptation of the metre of The Church- 
Porch, ni, 15, and SIN^ES Round, V, 143. 


What befits affliction is not complaint, but repent- 

6. Water pipes are mentioned also in Whitsunday, 
III, 159, 1. 17. 



Thou who dost dwell and linger here below. 
Since the condition of this world is frail 

Where of all plants afflictions soonest grow, 
If troubles overtake thee, do not wail; 4 

For who can look for lesse that loveth | ^ . * 

( Strife. 

But rather turn the pipe and water's course 
To serve thy sinnes, and furnish thee with store 

Of sov'raigne tears, springing from true remorse; 
That so in purenesse thou mayst him adore 9 

Who ^ves to man as he sees fit | 




God's means of drawing us to himself. J. Churton 
Collins writes in his Treasury of Minor British 
Poetry: "This is the one poem of Herbert's which 
is not marred by his characteristic defects, affected 
quaintness, extravagance, prosaic baldness, and dis- 
cordant rhythm . " I cannot agree with this estimate. 
The poetry of Herbert does not seem to me in 
general to be marked with these characteristics, nor 
the present poem to be singularly free from them. 


Not found in W. 

Metre : 



"Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart 
is restless until it finds rest in Thee;" Augustine, 
Confessions, I, 1. 


7. These good gifts to man are often referred to by 
Herbert under slightly varying names: as in The 
World, IV, 21; The Pearl, IV, 177; The Quip, 
16, 17. Rest, restlessnesse. There are not above half-a- 
dozen puns in Herbert. Few poets of his day are 
so free from them. 



When God at first made man, 
Having a glasse of blessings standing by, 

Let us (said he) poure on him all we can. 
Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie. 

Contract into a span. 5 

So strength first made a way. 
Then beautie flow'd, then wisdome, honour, plea- 
When almost all was out, God made a stay, 
Perceiving that alone of all his treasure 

Rest in the bottome lay. 10 

For if I should (said he) 
Bestow this Jewell also on my creature, 

He would adore my gifts instead of me. 
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature. 

So both should losers be. 15 

Yet let him keep the rest. 
But keep them with repining restlesnesse. 

Let him be rich and wearie, that at least. 
If goodnesse leade him not, yet wearinesse 

May tosse him to my breast. 20 



Not found in W. 


Unique. Rhyming system same as Church-Monu- 
ments, III, 201. 


The sinner must share, at least by tears, in his own 


1. Luke vii, 38, and John xii, 3. 

11. Tears like seas, again in The Size, V, 195, 1. 47. 

12. This threefold aspect of sin is treated in Sinnes 
Round, V, 143. 

14. Das/i= bespatter. 



When blessed Marie wip'd her Saviour's feet, 
(Whose precepts she had trampled on before,) 

And wore them for a Jewell on her head. 
Shewing his steps should be the street 

Wherein she thenceforth evermore 5 

With pensive humblenesse would Uve and tread; 

She being stain'd her self, why did she strive 

To make him clean who could not be defil'd ? 
Why kept she not her tears for her own faults. 
And not his feet ? Though we could dive 10 
In tears hke seas, our sinnes are pil'd 
Deeper then they, in words, and works, and 

Deare soul, she knew who did vouchsafe and 
To bear her filth, and that her sinnes did dash 
Ev'n God himself; wherefore she was not loth, 15 
As she had brought wherewith to stain, 
So to bring in wherewith to wash. 
And yet, in washing one, she washed both. 



Not found in W. 


Used also in The Crosse, V, 231. 


The two greatest forces of the world and the least 
understood, Sin and Love, meet at their height 
in Christ's last hours; where the one had power to 
crush him in the Garden, the other to bring from 
his Cross Kfe for all. 


3. Two strains of thought, as frequently with Her- 
bert, blend in this expression : Scientific men have 
appHed their measuring-rods to determine the dis- 
tance of the earth from the stars. The use of the 
measuring-rod then suggests the staff in the hand 
of the traveller. Cf. Divinitie, V, 99, 1. 27. J. 
Howell, in a letter dated 1627, writes: "The 
philosopher can fathom the Deep, measure Moun- 
tains, reach the Stars with a Staff, and bless 
Heaven with a Girdle." 
11. Perhaps an allusion to Isaiah Ixiii, 3. Cf. Praise, 

V, 47, 1. 38. 
15. Set ahroach= set running. The word is used again 
in the same connection in Divinitie, V, 99, 1. 9. 
18. John vi, 55. Cf. The Invitation, V, 49, 1. 12. 



Philosophers have measur'd mountains, 

Fathom'd the depths of seas, of states, and kings, 
Walk'd with a staffe to heav'n, and traced foun- 
tains ; 
But there are two vast, spacious things, 
The which to measure it doth more behove, 5 
Yet few there are that sound them : Sinne and 

Who would know Sinne, let him repair 
Unto Mount OUvet; there shall he see 

A man so wrung with pains that all his hair, 
His skinne, his garments bloudie be. 10 

Sinne is that presse and vice which forceth pain 

To hunt his cruell food through ev'ry vein. 

Who knows not Love, let him assay 

And taste that juice which on the crosse a pike 
Did set again abroach; then let him say 15 

If ever he did taste the Uke. 
Love is that liquor sweet and most divine 
Which my God feels as bloud; but I, as wine. 



Not found in W.; but early in style. 


The contrast between hearts and stones as regards 
their openness to Christ: the former should be ten- 
der, hospitable, clean, restful, impressible. Christ 
found only the latter so. 
Notes : 
5. 1 suppose this to mean. Our hearts have room 
enough, and to spare; and I so punctuate. But ed. 
1633 reads our hearts good store, without comma or 
9. Large, i. e. with room for sins and trifles by the 

10. Whatever y the impatient interrogative = what pos- 
sible, what in the world, could the rock have done 
to need thee for its purification ? 
16. Order; a noun to be joined with quiet. 
20. And therefore must employ stone. 2 Corinthians 

iii, 3. 
23. Loving =hoiii offering love to. 



O BLESSED bodie ! Whither art thou thrown ? 
No lodging for thee but a cold hard stone ? 
So many hearts on earth, and yet not one 

Receive thee ? 4 

Sure there is room within our hearts — good store ! 
For they can lodge transgressions by the score. 
Thousands of toyes dwell there, yet out of doore 

They leave thee. 

But that which shews them large, shews them unfit. 
Whatever sinne did this pure rock commit, 10 
Which holds thee now ? Who hath indited it 

Of murder ? 
Where our hard hearts have took up stones to brain 

And missing this, most falsly did arraigne thee, 
Onely these stones in quiet entertain thee, 15 

And order. 

And as of old, the law by heav'nly art 
Was writ in stone; so thou, which also art 
The letter of the word, find'st no fit heart 

To hold thee. 20 

Yet do we still persist as we began. 
And so should perish, but that nothing can. 
Though it be cold, hard, foul, from loving man 

Withold thee. 

156 THE BAG 


This curious piece is more Kke Giles Fletcher's 
work than anything else of Herbert's. It approaches 
its subject from the side of God and not of man, 
reporting heavenly events rather than — as is Her- 
bert's way — human longings. Its style, too, is 
Fletcher's, treating the gravest matters sweetly and 
with a kind of sportive romance. Fletcher preceded 
Herbert both at Westminster School and Trinity 
College by only four years. His poem, Christ's Vic- 
tories, was published in 1610. — 5^ 6^= mail-bag. 


Not found in W. 




We cannot despair, since Christ is open to all our 
desires. Christ's wounded side seems greatly to 
have impressed Herbert. Allusions to it occur 
in The Sacrifice, III, 147, 1. 246; Prayer, III, 
181, 1. 6; H. Baptisme, III, 191, 1. 6; Divini- 
TiE, V, 99, 1. 9; The Agonie, V, 153, 1. 14; The 
Church Militant, VI, 123, 1. 69. 

Notes : 
5. The reference of this stanza is to the storm on the 
Sea of Galilee. Matthew viii, 24. 

; 6. TreZZ= possibly, as in H. Communion, IH, 197, 1. 31. 



Away despair! My gracious Lord doth heare. 

Though windes and waves assault my keel, 
He doth preserve it; he doth steer, 

Ev'n when the boat seems most to reel. 
Storms are the triumph of his art. 5 

Well may he close his eyes, but not his heart. 

Hast thou not heard that my Lord Jesus di'd ? 

Then let me tell thee a strange storie. 
The God of power, as he did ride 

In his majestick robes of glorie, 10 

Resolv'd to light; and so one day 
He did descend, undressing all the way. 

The starres his tire of Ught and rings obtain'd, 

The cloud his bow, the fire his spear, 
The sky his azure mantle gain'd. 15 

And when they ask'd what he would wear, 
He smil'd and said, as he did go. 
He had new clothes a making here below. 

158 THE BAG 

15. In early Christian art the outer mantle of Christ is 
always blue, his inner tunic red; the latter color 
signifying love, the former wisdom. This seems 
to be the reason for the employment of azure in 
HUMILITIE, IV, 35, 1. 2. 

18. Cf. Hebrews ii, 17. 

20. Luke ii, 7. 

26. John xix, 34. 

28. lfa?i= guard, attendant. This poem has inspired 
Vaughan's Incarnation and Passion. 

42. So 1. 1. 


When he was come, as travellers are wont, 

He did repair unto an inne. 20 

Both then and after, many a brunt 
He did endure to cancell sinne. 

And having giv'n the rest feefore. 

Here he gave up his hfe to pay our score. 

But as he was returning, there came one 25 

That ran upon him with a spear. 

He who came hither all alone. 

Bringing nor man, nor arms, nor fear, 

Receiv'd the blow upon his side; 29 

And straight he turn'd and to his brethren cry'd, 

If ye have anything to send or write, 
(I have no bag, but here is room) 

Unto my father's hands and sight 

(Beleeve me) it shall safely come. 

That I shall minde what you impart, 35 

Look, you may put it very neare my heart. 

Or if hereafter any of my friends 

Will use me in this kinde, the doore 

Shall still be open; what he sends 

I will present, and somewhat more, 40 

Not to his hurt. Sighs will convey 

Any thing to me. Heark despair, away ! 



Not found in W. 
Metre : 

Of seventeen sonnets, eleven — like this — depart 

in the third quatrain from the Shakespearian form. 

Similarities of language often correspond with 

similarities of meaning. See I, 165. 
Notes : 

3. The rising admiration for the vernacular had been 
expressed by Sidney in his Defence of Poesie; 
"Some will say ours is a mingled language: and 
why not so much the better, taking the best of both 
the other ? For the uttering sweetly and properly 
the conceit of the mind, which is the end of speech, 
that hath it equally with any tongue in the world." 

4. Cf. The Church-Porch, III, 43, 1. 239. 

8-10. When the light of Hfe grows dim in parents, their 
fruit or issue takes it up, passing the flame along 
from Adam in Paradise to the latest generation 
among Western tribes. So in The Church Mili- 
tant, VI, 119, 125, 1. 17, 97. Is there an allusion 
here to Plato's torch-race ? Repub. I, 328. 
14. So, too, Even-Song, V, 59, 1. 8. But Herbert shows 
forbearance in not playing on this double mean- 
ing in his Sunday, III, 175 — as did Vaughan after- 
wards. Donne, too, writes: "Joy at th' uprising 
of this Sunne and Son: " La Corona, VH, 2. 



Let forrain nations of their language boast, 
What fine varietie each tongue affords, 

I like our language, as our men and coast. 
Who cannot dresse it well, want wit, not words. 

How neatly doe we give one onely name 5 

To parents' issue and the sunne's bright starre ! 

A Sonne is light and fruit; a fruitful flame 
Chasing the father's dimnesse, carri'd farre 

From the first man in th' East to fresh and new 
Western discov'ries of posteritie. 10 

So in one word our Lord's humilitie 

We turn upon him in a sense most true: 

For what Christ once in humblenesse began, 
We him in glorie call, The Sonne of Man. 


Date : 

Not found in W. 

Metre : 



Wherever love and gladness are, there too is Christ. 
But the association of Christ with the vine is also 
in Herbert's mind. 

Notes : 

1,3. Window and anneaCd. The conditions assumed 
in this poem are these : A church window of stained 
glass (for anneaVd, see' The Windows, V, 15, 1. 6) 
bears the design of the True Vine (John xv, 1). A 
section of the repeated pattern (cf . every , 1. 3) shows 
a group of stem, leaves, and drooping grapes. The 
tendrils, curHng in opposite directions, suggest by 
their forms to Herbert's eye the opposed curves of 
the letters J and C; while the bodie, or material 
suggestion of the vine, brings to his mind thoughts 
of festivity and human fellowship. This double 
suggestion is confirmed by him who understands 
both the window and the sources of joy. 
5. This forward trait of Herbert's character is again 
referred to in The Answer, IV, 147, 1. 6. 



As on a window late I cast mine eye, 
I saw a vine drop grapes with J and C 

Anneal'd on every bunch. One standing by 

Ask'd what it meant. I (who am never loth 
To spend my iudgement) said, It seem'd to me 

To be the bodie and the letters both 6 

Of Joy and Charitie. Sir, you have not miss'd, 
The man reply'd: It figures JESUS CHRIST. 

164 .... \ MARY . ^T>ATVT 

ANA- \ ^j^j^Y ^ ^^^^ 


In B. this is placed between Church-Musick and 
Church-Lock and Key. R. Southwell writes in 
Our Ladies Salutation: 

" Spell Eva backe, and ave shall you finde. 
The first beganne, the last reversed our harmes." 

" An anagram is the transposition of the letters of a 
word so as that, without the omission or repeating 
of any letter, they compose another of quite differ- 
ent signification. Poets have been generally fond 
of this scrap of ingenuity and have always used it 
to the improvement or disgrace of what the word 
primarily signified:'* G. Ryley (1714). 

Date : 

Not found in W. 

Notes : 

2. Perhaps a reminiscence of Hebrews viii, 2. 


How well her name an Army doth present 
In whom the Lord of hosts did pitch his tent ! 



Not found in W. 
Metre : 

Unique. With wide rhymes,^—!. 3, 9, and 6, 12. 

"Ye are the temple of God:" 1 Corinthians iii, 16. 
Notes : 

1. Floor e, the groundwork of religion. 
7. This poem cannot have been suggested by Salis- 
bury Cathedral, whose choir is on a level with the 
10. Colossians iii, 14, 

14. iVeai =deKcate. 

15. The marble weeps. So Grieve Not, VI, 17, 1. 23, 
and a variation in The Church Porch, III, 63, 
1. 417. Cf. Milton's Hymn on Christ's Nativity, 
1. 195: *'And the chill marble seems to sweat." 

16. A modification of this figure is used in Church- 
Monuments, III, 201, 1. 4. 



Mark you the floore ? That square and speckled 

Which looks so firm and strong, 
Is Patience. 

And th' other black and grave, wherewith each one 
Is checker'd all along, 5 


The gentle rising, which on either hand 
Leads to the Quire above. 
Is Confidence. 

But the sweet cement, which in one sure band 10 
Ties the whole frame, is Love 
And Charitie. 

Hither sometimes Sinne steals, and stains 
The marble's neat and curious veins; 

But all is cleansed when the marble weeps. 15 
Sometimes Death, puffing at the doore, 
Blows all the dust about the floore; 

But while he thinks to spoil the room, he sweeps. 
Blest be the Architect whose art 
Could build so strong in a weak heart. 20 


Garden and river Wiley, behind the Rectory at Bemerton. See 

Vol. I, p. 41. 




THERE came a reaction. The Kttle parish 
which had seemed so attractive in its isola- 
tion, and into which Herbert had thrown himself 
with such joyful eagerness, proved painfully small. 
For thirty-seven years he had lived in the full tide 
of ajffairs. Born in high station, he had found his 
associates among the leaders of the day. With the 
gayest, the most learned, the most widely influen- 
tial men of his time, Herbert had long been living 
on terms of intimacy, and from them had derived 
much of that ability to write -fine and wittie on 
which to the last he prided himself. Inaction had 
always been in his eyes the most dreaded of evils. 
Yet for the rest of his hfe he was to be cut off 
from society. He was to minister to a small group 
of farm laborers in a village remote from city, 
court, and university. His predecessor had not 
endured such conditions; but leaving church and 
parsonage in decay, had lived "at a better Par- 
sonage house sixteen or twenty miles from this 

At first the restrictions of Herbert's surroundings 
were not irksome. After the storms of the Crisis 
period he found peace in sacred tasks and in what 
he supposed to be a settled mind. It seemed as if 


at length he fast changing were,, Fast in God's 
Paradise, where no flower can wither. According 
to Walton, he remarked to a friend just after his 
Induction: I now look back upon my aspiring 
thoughts, and think myself more happy than if I 
had attained what then I so ambitiously thirsted for. 
In God and his service is a fulness of all joy and 
pleasure, and no satiety. Voluntarily cut off from 
outward activities, we have seen him joyfully 
developing every possibility within his own narrow 
bounds. He explores his priestly duties ; he calls on 
the services of his Church to disclose their inmost 
significance; he records with double dihgence the 
moods of his soul. While it is not necessary to 
suppose that a majority of his poems were pro- 
duced in these three years, still the early manu- 
script contains only a minority; and a large pro- 
portion of those which first appear in the later 
manuscript allude to the priestly office. Herbert's 
art must, therefore, have been busily pursued 
during this time of seclusion. A kindred art he 
also had. "His chief est recreation was Musick, 
in which heavenly Art he was a most excellent 
Master, and did himself compose many divine 
Hymns and Anthems which he set and sung to his 
Lute or Viol. And though he was a lover of retired- 
ness, yet his love of Musick was such that he went 
usually twice every week on certain appointed 
days to the Cathedral Church in Salisbury; and 
at his return would say that his time spent in 


Prayer and Cathedral Musick elevated his Soul 
and was his Heaven upon Earth. But before his 
return thence to Bemerton, he would usually sing 
and play his part at an appointed Musick-meet- 


Such were the occupations accessible in his 
small parish. For one who had always lived at the 
centre of men and things, the change experienced 
could not fail to be great. It had its welcome and 
unwelcome sides, corresponding to the diversities 
in Herbert's own nature. With one side of himself 

— the Elizabethan and Renaissance side — he 
loved gayety, pleasure, great place, intellectual 
companionship, the stir and glitter of the world. 
With the other side, which connected him with 
the early half of the seventeenth century, he loved 

— profoundly and tenderly loved — an abstract 
and exclusive God, the guardian of unity, order, 
obedience, silence, one hostile to every species of 
earthly attachment. We have seen how on entering 
the priesthood he anticipated that in this divine 
love there could be no satiety. He did not find it so. 
The conflicts of the Crisis were renewed. Human 
interests, personal desires, had never died in Her- 
bert. They never did die. That is what makes him 
so attractive a figure. He is ever a strugghng soul, 
eager for God and unity, but only less eager to 
make the wealthy world his own. He is no calm 
saint. Nobody can read the stormy poems of this 
Group and find the epithet appropriate which has 


been connected with his name by loose admirers 
in his and our age. Herbert is not holy. There was 
always a noise of thoughts within his heart. How- 
ever closely joy was locked up, some bad man would 
let it out again. He was continually asking of God 
whether it were not better to bestow some place and 
power on him; and years spent in cold dispute of 
what is fit and not were apt to appear as only lost. 
Many will feel that this failure of inward unity 
was due to the separatist notions under which 
Herbert for the most part thought of God, con- 
ceiving Him not as immanent in human affairs, but 
as detached and hostile. No doubt this is true; but 
it does not make the conflict in Herbert's soul less 
real or instructive. Some readers, remembering 
the Uterary habits of Herbert's age and the sonnets 
of its love-poets, may suspect that the extent of the 
Conflict is exaggerated in the interests of dramatic 
art. But even so he paints a conflict judged ap- 
propriate to the situation. However we approach 
these most human of Herbert's songs, we shall 
find that in them justice is done to sides of life 
from which the saint instinctively turns. Man is 
a Medley; and Herbert, never the simple and 
"holy" person of popular tradition, depicts that 
medley with sympathetic vividness. 

The Group begins with one of the greatest of 
his autobiographic poems ; and ends with another, 
more allegoric, but even more detailed and con- 
fessional in character. In Love Unknown Her- 


bert treats imaginatively the three periods of his 
manhood. Though he knew himself destined for 
the priesthood, his heart was first centred on 
Academic and royal honors. A dish of such fruit 
he gained, intending eventually to offer it to the 
Lord. (This dignity hath no such earthiness in it 
but it may very well he joined with heaven : Herbert 
to Sir J. Danvers, 1619.) But his heart needed to 
be detached from these things and cleansed. Then 
came the deaths of his friends and mother (a sac- 
rifice out of his fold, 1. 30), the resignation of his 
Oratorship, and his severe illness. These afflictions 
fell upon him when cold toward God, — hard of 
heart as regards his own appointed work. Becom- 
ing supple through affliction and through a taste 
of God's forgiving love, he turned to that priest- 
hood and home where he had always expected 
rest. But even in Bemerton he finds dull conditions 
and goading thoughts. According to this interpre- 
tation, the present poem would resurvey at a later 
date the career already sketched in Affliction, 
IV, 135, which is here referred to in 1. 28. A more 
detailed but similar account is given in The Pil- 
grimage. In The Familie, The Discharge, 
The Size, and The Method he considers rea- 
sons for contentment; in Hope he perceives how 
inadequate these are; in Submission we hear of 
the painful contrast between the empty life at 
Bemerton and that to which he had aspired, a con- 
trast resulting in the Dulnesse of the next poem 


and the rebellious mood of The Collar. The 
sense that in the service of God there is little re- 
warding joy suggests in the next three poems that 
God has withdrawn his favor, and gives rise to 
tender lament. Conscience insists on obedience. 
But in one of the most pathetic poems of the series, 
The Crosse, we learn how partly through illness, 
and partly through a restless heart, the priesthood 
is proving a disappointment. 




"This poem is a striking example and illustration 
that the characteristic fault of our elder poets is 
the reverse of that which distinguishes too many of 
our recent versifiers: the one conveying the most 
fantastic thoughts in the most correct and natural 
language; the other in the most fantastic language 
conveying the most trivial thoughts. The latter is a 
riddle of words, the former an enigma of thoughts : " 
Coleridge, Biog. Lit. XIX. 


Not found in W. 


Used also in A Wreath, IV, 115, and Grief, VI, 


Unperceived by us, the severities of God express 
his love and wisdom. John xiii, 7. 


1. This is the only poem in which Herbert professes to 
speak with a friend; and the friend is but another 
mood of Herbert himself (1. 11). 

3. Complie=join, sympathize. 

4. Cf. Redemption, IV, 33, 1. 1. 

5. For the two lives see Man's Medley, V, 125. 
6-18. Cf. An Offering, IV, 189, 1. 3-5. 

6. The Cambridge scholarship and poetry. 

8. A similar partition of a poem by refrains occurs in 
The Church Militant, VI, 121, 1. 48. 



Deare Friend, sit down, the tale is long and sad, 
And in my faintings I presume your loue 

Will more complie then help. A Lord I had, 
And have, of whom some grounds which may 

I hold for two Kves, and both lives in me. 5 
To him I brought a dish of fruit one day, 

And in the middle plac'd my heart. But he 

(I sigh to say) 
Lookt on a servant who did know his eye 

Better then you know me, or (which is one) 10 
Then I my self. The servant instantly. 

Quitting the fruit, seiz'd on my heart alone 
And threw it in a font wherein did fall 

A stream of bloud which issu'd from the side 
Of a great rock. I well remember all 15 

And have good cause. There it was dipt and 
And washt and wrung; the very wringing yet 

Enforceth tears. Your heart was foul, I fear. 
Indeed 'tis true. I did and do commit 

Many a fault more then my lease will bear, 20 
Yet still askt pardon and was not deni'd. 

But you shall heare. After my heart was well, 
And clean and fair, as I one even-tide 

(I sigh to tell) 


14. Here, as in the popular hymn, Rock of Ages, there 
appears to be a double allusion to the striking of 
the rock by Moses and the piercing of Christ's side. 
Numbers xx, 11, and John xix, 34. A similar blend- 
ing occurs in The Sacrifice, III, 139, 1. 170. 

22. Was well. Cf. Affliction, IV, 139, 1. 31. When 
my heart was cleansed of desire for worldly honor 
and I had decided on the priesthood. 

25. Walkt by my self abroad, the Crisis period. 

28. Herbert has five poems with this title. The refer- 
ence here is to the one in IV, 135, written after the 
death of his mother. 

40. Matthew xxvi, 28. . 

42. Cf. The Invitation, V, 49, 1. 12. 

43. For good=ioT my good. The church ordinances, 
which to those around me were routine matters, 
had gained for me an inner meaning, in which as a 
priest I hoped now to rest. 


Walkt by my self abroad, I saw a large 25 

And spacious fornace flaming, and thereon 

A boyling caldron round about whose verge 
Was in great letters set AFFLICTION. 

The greatnesse shew'd the owner. So I went 
To fetch a sacrifice out of my fold, 30 

Thinking with that which I did thus present 
To warm his love, which I did fear grew cold. 

But as my heart did tender it, the man 
Who was to take it from me shpt his hand 34 

And threw my heart into the scalding pan — 
My heart, that brought it (do you understand .'') 

The offerer's heart. Your heart was hard, I fear. 
Indeed 't is true. I found a callous matter 

Began to spread and to expatiate there; 
But with a richer drug then scalding water 40 

I bath'd it often, ev'n with holy bloud. 
Which at a board, while many drunk bare wine, 

A friend did steal into my cup for good, 
Ev'n taken inwardly, and most divine 

To supple hardnesses. But at the length 45 
Out of the caldron getting, soon I fled 

Unto my house, where to repair the strength 
Which I had lost, I hasted to my bed. 

But when I thought to sleep out all these faults 

(I sigh to speak) 50 


51. Home and the quiet of Bemerton brought restless 

55. Cf. Church-Lock and Key, IV, 97, 1. 1. 

56. The dulnesse which is lamented in the poem of 
that liame, V, 207. 

59. So The Method, V, 197, 1. 15. 

60. The Bag, V, 159, 1. 24. 

70. In these adjectives are summed up some of the 
most constant desires of Herbert and of his age, — 
to be ever fresh, sensitive, and alert, — desires 
which in Herbert's case were continually thwarted 
by feeble health. 


I found that some had stuff 'd the bed with thoughts, 

I would say thorns. Deare, could my heart not 
When with my pleasures ev'n my rest was gone ? 

Full well I understood who had been there, 
For I had giv'n the key to none but one. 55 

It must be he. Your heart was dull, I fear. 
Indeed a slack and sleepie state of minde 

Did oft possesse me, so that when I pray'd, 
Though my hps went, my heart did stay behinde. 

But all my scores were by another paid, 60 
Who took the debt upon him. Truly, Friend, 

For ought I heare, your Master shows to you 
More favour then you wot of. Mark the end: 

The Font did onely what was old renew, 64 
The Caldron suppled what was grown too hard. 

The Thorns did quicken what was grown too dull. 
All did but strive to mend what you had marred. 

Wherefore he cheered, and praise him to the full 
Each day, each houre, each moment of the week. 

Who fain would have you he new, tender, quick. 



Not found in W. He finds murmurings lurking in 

his priestly heart. 
Metre : 


Peace, Silence, Order, Obedience, Joy, Grief, are 

the true members of God's Household. 
Notes : 
•2. A part, a musical part ; as noise in the preceding 

line is probably intended for jarring music. So 

Aaron, V, 11, 1. 8. 

4. Rule or eares. Rule refers to pulling, in the previ- 
ous Une, and eares to loud. 

5. Cf. Man, IV, 11, 1. 2-4. 

7. Mark xi, 15-17. 

8. iVeai=refinedly beautiful. So Man, IV, 17, 1. 42. 
10. Plaies. The preposition is omitted, as when we 

speak of playing the harp. 

12. The rank growths of the soul are brought into 
order. Cf. Paradise, V, 39. 

20. <S^n/Z= penetrating. Milton's "Shrill matin song," 
Par. Lost, V, 7. But that the expression was a dar- 
ing one, even for Herbert, is plain from Vaughan's 
repeating it in the first line of his Admission: "How 
shrill are silent tears!" 



What doth this noise of thoughts within my heart, 

As if they had a part ? 
What do these loud complaints and pulling fears. 
As if there were no rule or eares ? 

But, Lord, the house and familie are thine, 5 

Though some of them repine. 
Turn out these wranglers which defile thy seat, 
For where thou dwellest all is neat. 

First Peace and Silence all disputes controU, 

Then Order plaies the soul; 10 

And giving all things their set forms and houres. 
Makes of wilde woods sweet walks and bowres. 

Humble Obedience neare the doore doth stand. 

Expecting a command; 14 

Then whom in waiting nothing seems more slow, 
Nothing more quick when she doth go. 

Joyes oft are there, and griefs as oft as joyes. 

But griefs «vithout a noise ; 
Yet speak they louder then distempered fears. 
What is so shrill as silent tears ? 20 

This is thy house, with these it doth abound. 
And where these are not found, 
Perhaps thou com*st sometimes and for a day. 
But not to make a constant stay. 



Not found in W. He finds himself reprehensibly. 
wondering if he has been wise in taking orders. 


Unique, but differs only in rhyming system from 
Judgement, IV, 67. 


Having now committed myself to God, let anxieties 
cease. Away, distrust! Matthew vi, 25-34. 


3. "Llcorous, probably from the hcking of the lips of 
men and animals when slavering and greedy-desir- 
ous; and is metaphorically apphed to the eyes. 
Lecherous is in fact the same word, but more con- 
fined by present custom to one form of desire:" 
A. B. Grosart. He that for quality is licorous after 
dainties is a glutton : Country Parson, XXVI. 
8. Depart = dispense, part with. Cf. Obedience, IV, 
181, 1. 8. Throughout this poem there is constant 
reference to Obedience, where his decision to be- 
come a priest was originally reached. 
11. 75 gone=is determined already by your past act. 
13. Exodus xiii, 21. 

16. !^/^^s=the disasters and comforts of the Crisis time. 
He made thee a priest, as in 1. 11. 



BusiE enquiring heart, what wouldst thou know ? 

Why dost thou prie, 
And turn, and leer, and with a licorous eye 

Look high and low, 
And in thy lookings stretch and grow ? 5 

Hast thou not made thy counts and summ'd up 

Did not thy heart 
Give up the whole and with the whole depart ? 
Let what will fall. 
That which is past who can recall ? 10 

Thy Kfe is God's, thy time to come is gone, 

And is his right. 
He is thy night at noon, he is at night 

Thy noon alone. 
The crop is his, for he hath sown. 15 

And well it was for thee, when this befell. 
That God did make 

Thy businesse his, and in thy life partake; 
For thou canst tell, 
If it be his once, all is well. 20 


22-25. Fortunate to know what the present demands, 
without cudgeUing your brains over the future. 

30. It will grow fast enough without your digging for it. 

31. Provide=]o6k forward. 

32. "The reverse of going upon or acting on the square 
=acts disloyally, breaks the agreement that the 
present is his and the future his God's:" A. B. Gro- 
sart. John the Baptist squared out [i. e. assigned] to 
every one what to do : Country Parson, XXXII. 

34. Same use of wide in H. Baptisme, III, 191, 1. 8. 
39. Those grounds=ihe future, separated from us by 


Onely the present is thy part and fee. 

And happy thou 
If, though thou didst not beat thy future brow, 

Thou couldst well see 
What present things required of thee. 25 

They ask enough. Why shouldst thou further go ? 

Raise not the mudde 
Of future depths, but drink the cleare and good. 

Dig not for wo 
In times to come, for it will grow. 30 

Man and the present fit; if he provide, 
He breaks the square. 

This houre is mine; if for the next I care, 
I grow too wide, 
And do encroach upon death's side. 35 

For death each houre environs and surrounds. 

He that would know 
And care for future chances, cannot go 
Unto those grounds 
But through a Church-yard which them 
bounds. 40 


45. "The phrase is taken from tilting a cask on end 
to get all out of the tap:" A. B. Grosart. This does 
not fit the context, which requires that an end shall 
mean at great length. The explanation is found in 
an earlj use of bottom in the sense of a spool or 
holder on which thread is wound. So Herbert uses 
it in 1622 in a letter to his mother in her sickness: 
I have alwaies observed the thred of life to be like other 
threds or shenes of silk, fvll of snarles and incum- 
brances. Happy is he whose bottome is wound up and 
laid ready for work in the New Jerusalem. The New 
English Dictionary cites an example from Ralegh's 
History of the World: "He receiveth from her 
[Ariadne] a bottom of thread." The meaning here 
accordingly is that, by anticipating, men pull an end 
from the spool of grief and unroll the whole ball. 
And this, so far from putting away the trouble, gives 
length to it. The same figure is applied in a differ- 
ent way in The Church-Porch, HI, 29, 1. 124. 
The word may possibly have a similar meaning in 
Church-Rents and Schismes, V, 105, 1. 6. 

46. Causes of fear are tied up in the future. Do not 
release them, 1. 48, nor make to-morrow sad. Our 
proverb says: " Let sleeping dogs lie." 

54. So The Bag, V, 157, 1. 1. 


Things present shrink and die. But they that spend 

Their thoughts and sense 
On future grief, do not remove it thence, 
But it extend, 
And draw the bottome out an end. 45 

God chains the dog till night. Wilt loose the chain. 
And wake thy sorrow ? 

Wilt thou forestall it, and now grieve tomorrow. 
And then again 
Grieve over freshly all thy pain ? 60 

Either grief will not come, or if it must. 

Do not forecast. 
And while it cometh it is almost past. 

Away distrust! 
My God hath promised, he is just. 55 



How great may one be who would also be a servant 

of God ? Size is used in this sense in Faith, IV, 

31, 1. 28, and in The Rose, IV, 185, 1. 4. 

Not found in W. He is trying to adjust himself to 

narrow conditions. 


In this world there come to the Christian small joys, 

— and it is well. 
Notes : 
5, 6. As streams in the lowlands are kept alive by 

waters higher up, so let your gentle joys be stirred 

by those on high. 
7. Fraught=heigh.i. 
9. Enough pleasure to render grief endurable. 

21. Those have. The great joys are already in pos- 
session of their hopes. 

22. On score, i. e. on trust, as in The Bag, V, 159, 
1. 24. 



Content thee, greedie heart. 
Modest and moderate joyes to those that have 
Title to more hereafter when they part, 

Are passing brave. 
Let th' upper springs into the low 5 

Descend and fall, and thou dost flow. 

What though some have a fraught 
Of cloves and nutmegs, and in cinamon sail; 

If thou hast wherewithall to spice a draught. 
When griefs prevail, 10 

And for the future time art heir 
To th' Isle of spices, is't not fair.^ 

To be in both worlds full 
Is more then God was, who was hungrie here. 

Wouldst thou his laws of fasting disanuU ? 15 

Enact good cheer ? 
Lay out thy joy, yet hope to save it ^ 
Wouldst thou both eat thy cake and have it ? 

Great joyes are all at once, 
But little do reserve themselves for more. 20 

Those have their hopes ; these what they have 

And live on score. 
Those are at home, these journey still 
And meet the rest on Sion's hill. 


25. Luke vi, 24-26. 

29. Cf. Affliction, IV, 135, 1. 10. 

35. The split infinitive is rare in Herbert's verse. I 
have not found another instance. 

36. like one still in pursuit, not in assured and happy , 
possession. Pretend is used in this sense in Un- 

KINDNESSE, IV, 105, 1. 16. 

38. 1 Timothy vi, 10. 

40. An absent line here, omitted both in 1632 and in B., 
is thus supplied by Dr. Grosart: At all tiwips faU. 
Ernest Rhys proposes: Did always fall. 

41. Instead of reckoning time from the last great storm, 
some joy would mark our epoch. 

42. Dr. Grosart thinks seam is used here in the sense 
of pocket. Do not expect to pocket up blessings. 

46. An emblem, Kke those described by Quarles, or 
Hke that of Hope, V, 203. 


Thy Saviour sentenc'd joy, 25 

And in the flesh condemned it as unfit, 

At least in lump, for such doth oft destroy; 

Whereas a bit 
Doth tice us on to hopes of more, 
And for the present health restore. 30 

A Christian's state and case 
Is not a corpulent, but a thinne and spare 

Yet active strength ; whose long and bonie 

Content and care 
Do seem to equally divide — 35 

Like a pretender, not a bride. 

Wherefore sit down, good heart. 
Grasp not at much, for fear thou losest all. 
/ If comforts fell according to desert, 39 

They would great frosts and snows destroy; 
For we should count. Since the last joy. 

Then close again the seam 
Which thou hast open'd. Do not spread thy robe 
In hope of great things. Call to minde thy 

An earthly globe, 45 

On whose meridian was engraven, 
These seas are tears, and heaven the haven. 



Not found in W. He questions why he is not nearer 

Metbe : 

Used also in Good Friday, III, 149, but with 

dijfferent rhyming system. 

Our method of treating God, and his of treating 

us. A slight early sketch of this theme is found 

in Church-Lock and Key, IV, 97. 
Notes : 
3. i2w6= hindrance. Hamlet's, "Ay, there's the rub : '* 

iii, 1. 
6. Jfoi;e= propose, used much as in parliamentary 

proceedings. So motion is used in 1. 19 and 23. Cf. 

Praise, IV, 193, 1. 4, The Call, V, 9, 1. 10, and 

Perseverance, VI, 155, 1. 3. Lord Herbert entitles 

one of his poems An Ode on a Question Moved 

Whether Love Should Continue For Ever. 
10. Tumble thy breast; so Church-Porch, III, 31, 

1. 148. 
15. So Love Unknown, V, 183, 1. 59. 



PooRE heart, lament. 
For since thy God refuseth still. 

There is some rub, some discontent, 
Which cools his will. 

Thy Father could 5 

Quickly effect what thou dost move. 
For he is Power ; and sure he would. 
For he is Love. 

Go search this thing. 
Tumble thy breast and turn thy book. 10 
If thou hadst lost a glove or ring, 
Wouldst thou not look.? 

What do I see 
Written above there ? Yesterday 

I did behave me carelesly 15 

When I did pray. 


18. Indijjerents= careless persons. 

23. / conceive the restraining motions are much more 

frequerd to the godly then inviting motions : To the 

49th Consideration of Valdesso. 
27. The rhyme was aheady used in 1. 19. 


And should God's eare 
To such indifferents chained be 

Who do not their own motions heare ? 

Is God lesse free ? 20 

But stay! What's there? 
Late when I would have something done, 
I had a motion to forbear. 
Yet I went on. 

And should God's eare, 25 

Which needs not man, be ty'd to those 
Who heare not him, but quickly heare 
His utter foes ? 

Then once more pray. 
Down with thy knees, up with thy voice. 30 
Seek pardon first, and God will say, 
Glad heart rejoyce. 



Emblems, both of word and picture, were much 
in fashion in Herbert*s day. Quarles* Emblems 
(1635) well met the current taste. An emblem en- 
graved upon a ring similar to the emblems men- 
tioned here was sent to Herbert by Dr. Donne. It 
is described in Walton's Life, and in Herbert's 
verses of acknowledgment, VI, 161. According to 
the prints of it that have come down to us, it had 
on one side an anchor used as a cross, and on the 
other side a growing plant bearing a Jew green eares. 
If this poem was in any way suggested by Donne's 
seal, its date is not earlier than 1630-31. Walton 
says the seals were engraved a httle before Donne's 
death in 1631. About the interpretation of this 
poem there are discussions in Notes and Queries, 
IX, 154; X, 18, 333. 


Not found in W. 

Metre : 

Unique. ' 



Herbert's constant subject, the contradictions of 
love, which may here be entitled The Weariness of 
Hope. It is the theme of The Collar, V, 211, 
but does not, Hke that poem, find a conclusion in 
the acceptance of love. 

To Love I gave my time, prayers, tears. Serving 
Love long and getting small return, I remind him 
of time passing, prayers offered, tears shed. Still 
he gives only hopes, visions, immature fruit. I 
despair. Translating into abstract terms Herbert's 
imagery of things, the sequence of his thought might 
be represented thus: 

To Love I said, " Hast thou forgotten Time ? " 

"Time counts for naught with Love, for Love is Hope." 

But I prayed still the prayer I ever prayed. 

" Look far away," said Love, " Not on things near." 

I wept. 

" Nay, here and now is fruit," he said. " Unripe, indeed." 

" Why such delay ? " cried I. " Give all or none! " 

202 . , HOPE 

2. Hebrews vi, 9. 

4. Optick=ielescope. The word occurs again in the 
lines To the Queene of Bohemia, VI, 185, 1. 13. 
Milton, remembering Galileo, speaks of "The moon 
whose orb Through optic glass the Tuscan artist 
views: " Par. Lost, I, 287. 

5. Cf. Praise, V, 47, 1. 27. 



I GAVE to Hope a watch of mine; but he 

An anchor gave to me. 
Then an old prayer-book I did present; 

And he an optick sent. 
With that I gave a viall full of tears; 5 

But he a few green eares. 
Ah Loyterer! Fie no more, no more I'le bring. 

I did expect a ring. 



Not found in W. His hopes of greatness blighted 
in Bemerton parish. 
Metre : 

Used also in The 23 Psalme, V, 19. 

The ambitious heart, knowing its blindness, re- 
luctantly accepts the small appointed work. 
Notes : 

2. My power and right of judgment are given up to 

4. My designe, i. e. of political preferment. 
10. My private judgment, 1. 2. 
12. Disseize = dispossess. Love, III, 85, 1. 26. 
17. Gift; cf. 1. 2 and 11. 

19. The same thought occurs again in Obedience, 
IV, 183, 1. 23-25. Psalm cxxxix, 10. 



But that Thou art my wisdome, Lord, 
And both mine eyes are thine, 

My minde would be extreamly stirr'd 
For missing my designe. 

Were it not better to bestow 5 

Some place and power on me ? 

Then should thy praises with me grow. 
And share in my degree. 

But when I thus dispute and grieve, 

I do resume my sight, 10 

And pilfring what I once did give. 
Disseize thee of thy right. 

How know I, if thou shouldst me raise. 
That I should then raise thee ? 

Perhaps great places and thy praise 15 
Do not so well agree. 

Wherefore unto my gift I stand; 

I will no more advise. 
Onely do thou lend me a hand. 

Since thou hast both mine eyes. 20 



Not found in W. Mental inertness deplored. 

Used also in Giddinesse, V, 129. 

Why, when gay wits celebrate their mistresses on 
every trivial occasion, have I such torpor in honor- 
ing my love ? A first sketch of The Forerun- 
ners, VI, 77. 
Notes : 
3. Quicknesse=\iYacity of mind (1. 25). 
7. The phrase is repeated in Jordan, III, 91, 1. 5. 
12. As truly as the fairest fair (1. 6). 



Why do I languish thus, drooping and dull, 

As if I were all earth ? 
O give me quicknesse, that I may with mirth 
Praise thee brim-full! 

The wanton lover in a curious strain 5 

Can praise his fairest fair. 
And with quaint metaphors her curled hair 
Curl o're again. 

Thou art my lovelinesse, my life, my light, 

Beautie alone to me. 10 

Thy bloudy death and undeserved makes thee 
Pure red and white. 


13. Taking up again 1. 10. 

14. A parenthetic line — And that perfection those 
which, etc. 

18. For a window-songy Dr. Grosart refers to Sidney's 
Astrophel and Stella, LIII. 

19. Pretending =siTeiching forth, aspiring, as in Jor- 
dan, III, 93, 1. 16. 

21. Sugred lyes. The phrase is used also in The Rose, 
IV, 185, 1.2. 


When all perfections as but one appeare — 
That, those thy form doth show — 
The very dust where thou dost tread and go 15 
Makes beauties here. 

Where are my lines then ? My approaches ? Views ? 

Where are my window-songs ? 
Lovers are still pretending, and ev'n wrongs 

Sharpen their Muse. 20 

But I am lost in flesh, whose sugred lyes 

Still mock me and grow bold. 
Sure thou didst put a minde there, if I could 

Finde where it lies. 24 

Lord, cleare thy gift, that with a constant wit 

I may but look towards thee. 
Look onely; for to love thee, who can be, 
What angel fit ? 



The Cozii^i2= restraint. 


Not found in W. Herbert has already entered the 
priesthood, but finds the experience of it irksome. 


Unique. Rhymes irregular and very widely spaced, 
those of 1. 3-10 and 13-23 being the widest in 


The irritating restraints of righteousness only ap- 
peased by love. 

Notes : 

4. Lines and life; cf. The Banquet, V, 57, 1. 51. 

5. (Sfore= amplest abundance. So The Pearl, IV, 
179, 1. 26. Dr. Grosart gives the amazing explana- 
tion, "As abounding in choice vanities as a store." 

6. Shall I always be a petitioner, never a master ? 



I STRUCK the board, and cry'd, No more ! 

I will abroad. 
What ? Shall I ever sigh and pine ? 
My lines and life are free, free as the rode, 
Loose as the winde, as large as store. 5 

Shall I be still in suit ? 
Have I no harvest but a thorn 
To let me bloud, and not restore 
What I have lost with cordiall fruit ? 

Sure there was wine 10 

Before my sighs did drie it. There was corn 
Before my tears did drown it. 
Is the yeare onely lost to me ? 

Have I no bayes to crown it ? 
No flowers, no garlands gay ? All blasted ? 15 
All wasted ? 


18. The same turn in The Quip, V, 33, 1. 7. 

24. Of binding power, though really only a rope of 

26. FFmA;= intentionally shut the eyes. So Miserie, 

tV, 53, 1. 62, and Acts xvii, 30. 
29. Take away the scarecrows. Manufactured fears 

shall no longer stop my breaking away. 
33-36. Dr. Grosart well refers to Parentalia, VIII, 

1. 7-10: 

Tandem prehensa comiter lacemvla 

Susurrat aure quispiam, 
Haec fuerat olim potio Domini tui. 

Gusto prohoque dolium. 

35. Me thoughts: so Artillerie, IV, 157, 1. 2. 


Not so, my heart! But there is fruit, 
And thou hast hands. 
Recover all thy sigh-blown age 
On double pleasures. Leave thy cold dispute 20 
Of what is fit and not. Forsake thy cage, 

Thy rope of sands. 
Which pettie thoughts have made, and made to thee 
Good cable, to enforce and draw. 

And be thy law, 25 

While thou didst wink and wouldst not see. 
Away! Take heed! 
I will abroad. 
Call in thy death's head there. Tie up thy fears. 
He that forbears 30 

To suit and serve his need 
Deserves his load. 
But as I rav'd and grew more fierce and wilde 
At every word. 
Me thoughts I heard one calling, Childe I 35 
And I reply'd. My Lord. 



The grapes of Eshcol. Numbers xiii, 23. 


Not found in W. See notes on 1. 4 and 9. 

Metre : 



We experience all that the IsraeUtes did in the 
wilderness, except the welcome clusters at the 
journey's end. But no: instead of the refreshment 
which those who were under the Law from time to 
time obtained, we have continually the new wine 
of Christ's blood. 

4. Sev^n may be used merely as a round number. Yet 
if, as is probable, this poem was written somewhere 
near the middle of his Bemerton hfe, the time here 
indicated would fall before the death of King 
James, of Herbert's mother, and of those other 
friends lamented in Affliction, IV, 139, 1. 31-36. 
This was Herbert's last period of secular employ- 
ment. Whatever the special reference of this date 
may be, it places the poem late in his Kfe. — " Vogue 
=a free course with a full sail; and hence aire in 
Une 5:" A. B. Grosart. 
7. Numbers xxxiii, 10. 



Joy, I did lock thee up, but some bad man 
Hath let thee out again; 

And now, me thinks, I am where J began 
Sev'n yeares ago. One vogue and vein, 
One aire of thoughts usurps my brain. 5 

I did toward Canaan draw, but now I am 

Brought back to the Red sea, the sea of shame. 


8. The course of thought in this stanza is not at once 
obvious. It is something Hke this: On account of 
rebellions, God did not permit the Israelites to reach 
an abiding city. But their story is our story. No- 
thing which has moved men widely is an individual 
affair ; each step in a divine transaction is typical 
and for all time. So God's justice to the Jews will- 
be proved his justice to us. 

9. It is in the isolation of Bemerton, his desert, far 
from London and Cambridge, that Herbert feels 
the hardship of the march toward Canaan, i. e. the 
priesthood. The sacred wine — his priestly work — 
must be his comfort. 

10. Spann'd=}iSLYe journeys of the same span or length. 
1 Corinthians x, 11. 

24. Herbert gathers together the notable cases of 
grapes: the grapes of Eshcol, 1. 19; the vineyard 
of Noah, fruitful to his injury (Genesis ix, 20, and 
The Church Militant, VI, 119, 1. 15); the wine- 
press of Isaiah (Isaiah Ixiii, 3); and Christ the true 
vine (John xv, 1). 

28. Mark xiv, 24. 


For as the Jews of old by God's command 

TraveU'd and saw no town, 9 

So now each Christian hath his journeys spanned. 

Their storie pennes and sets us down. 

A single deed is small renown. 
God's works are wide, and let in future times. 
His ancient justice overflows our crimes. 14 

Then have we too our guardian fires and clouds. 

Our Scripture-dew drops fast. 
We have our sands and serpents, tents and shrowds. 

Alas! Our murmurings come not last. 

But where's the cluster ? Where's the taste 
Of mine inheritance ? Lord, if I must borrow, 20 
Let me as well take up their joy as sorrow. 

But can he want the grape who hath the wine ? 
I have their fruit and more. 

Blessed be God, who prosper'd Noah's vine 

And made it bring forth grapes good store. 25 
But much more him I must adore 

Who of the law's sowre juice sweet wine did make, 

Ev'n God himself being pressed for my sake. 



Not found in W. 


"Oh that I knew where I might find him!" Job 

xxiii, 3. 

3. Psalm xHi, 3. 

4. Prove = reach certainty and success. 

6. The sphere is the skie of 1. 5, and the centre the 

earth, as in Pra.ter, III, 183, 1. 9. 
8. The opposite of Psahn cxxxix, 8. 
14. Simper = change countenance, twinkle. In The 
Chubch-Porch, III, 29, 1. 123, and Affliction, 
IV, 139, 1. 44, as here, a simper is the smile worn 
when one meets his superiors. 
20. Genesis viii, 9. 



Whither, O, whither art thou fled, 
My Lord, my Love ? 

My searches are my daily bread, 
Yet never prove. 

My knees pierce th' earth, mine eies the skie. 
And yet the sphere 6 

And centre both to me denie 

That thou art there. 

Yet can I mark how herbs below 

Grow green and gay, 10 

As if to meet thee they did know, 

While I decay. 

Yet can I mark how starres above 

Simper and shine. 
As having keyes unto thy love, 15 

While poore I pine. 

I sent a sigh to seek thee out. 

Deep drawn in pain, 

Wing'd like an arrow; but my scout 

Returns in vain. 20 


25. Dost thou withhold thy visits because somewhere 
thou art making a new, good world, and abandon- 
ing the old bad one ? 

29. Psalm Ixxvii, 7-9. 

33. Let not that, — i. e. thy will, — of all things, be what 
cuts me off from thee. The next three stanzas call 
upon God to exercise that will in Herbert's behalf. 

35. Ring = fence, barrier. 

36. Passe= overcome, surmount them. 


I tun'd another (having store) 

Into a grone. 
Because the search was dumbe before; 

But all was one. 

Lord, dost thou some new fabrick mold, 25 
Which favour winnes 

And keeps thee present, leaving th' old 
Unto their sinnes ? 

Where is my God ? What hidden place 

Conceals thee still? 30 

What covert dare eclipse thy face "^ 
Is it thy will ? 

O let not that of any thing! 

Let rather brasse, 
Or steel, or mountains be thy ring, 35 

And I will passe. 

Thy will such an intrenching is 

As passeth thought. 
To it all strength, all subtilties 

Are things of nought. 40 


41. As this stanza partially repeats the thought of the 
preceding, so the rhyme of that is partially repeated. 
47. Charge=hvLTden. 
52. Cf. Justice, V, 117, 1. 24. 
55. Romans viii, 35. 

58. Referring to 1. 41. 

59. Excels all else. Cf . Church-Porch, HI, 37, 1. 187. 

60. So Antiphon, m, 107, 1. 23. 


Thy will such a strange distance is 

As that to it 
East and West touch, the poles do kisse, 

And parallels meet. 

Since then my grief must be as large 45 

As is thy space, 
Thy distance, from me; see my charge, 

Lord, see my case. 

O take these barres, these lengths away ! 

Turn, and restore me. 50 

Be not Almightie, let me say. 

Against, but for me. 

When thou dost turn and wilt be neare. 

What edge so keen. 
What point so piercing, can appeare 55 

To come between ? 

For as thy absence doth excell 

All distance known. 
So doth thy nearenesse bear the bell. 

Making two one. 60 



AssuBANCE =Th.e ground of confidence. Cf. 

Aaron, V, 11. 

Not found in W. He is failing in his work as a 


Used also in Affliction, IV, 43. 

From suspicious thoughts about God's favor I take 

refuge in Himself. 
Notes : 

6. There is no poison so deadly as the inventions of 

9-12. All this is the allegation of his spitejtdl thought. 

In 1. 11 and elsewhere in this poem there seems to 

be allusion to the covenant of Obedience, IV, 181. 
13. Can anything be worse than this ? 



O spiTEFULL bitter thought! 
Bitterly spiteful! thought! Couldst thou invent 
So high a torture ? Is such poyson bought ? 
Doubtlesse but in the way of punishment, 

When wit contrives to meet with th*ee, 5 
No such rank poyson can there be. 

Thou said'st but even now 
That all was not so fair as I conceiv'd 

Betwixt my God and me: that I allow 9 
And coin large hopes, but that I was deceived ; 
Either the league was broke or neare it, 
And that I had great cause to fear it. 

And what to this ? What more 13 
Could poyson, if it had a tongue, expresse ? 
What is thy aim ? Wouldst thou unlock the 
To cold despairs and gnawing pensivenesse ? 
Wouldst thou raise devils ? I see, I know, 
I writ thy purpose long ago. 


22. If the ground of my confidence were myself and 
not thee, 1. 25. 

24. The joes are inner foes, sins. 

28. Does the league here and in 1." 11 refer to the priest- 
hood.? Cf. Obedience, IV, 183, 1. 32-35. 

35. Psalm xxxi, 3; Mark xiii, 31. 

38. This fancy that God is against thee, a fancy which 
merely hides thy own shame, — that thou art against 
God. Genesis iii, 7. 

39-40. "Thou hast cast a bone of contention which 
has rebounded on thyself and chokes thee:" A. B. 
Grosart. Cf. The Country Parson, XXVIII: 
He that throws a stone at another hits himself e. In 
a letter dated 1622, J. Howell, describing the 
former English alliance with the Netherlands, 
writes: "This was the Bone that Secretary Wal- 
singham told Queen Elizabeth he would cast the 
King of Spain, that should last him twenty years 
and perhaps make his teeth shake in his head." 

41, 42. To satisfy his own nature God went forth to 
man, and He will not fail to finish his work. John 
xiii, 1. 


But I will to my Father, 
Who heard thee say it. O most gracious Lord, 20 

If all the hope and comfort that I gather 
Were from my self, I had not half a word, 
Not half a letter to oppose 
What is objected by my foes. 

But thou art my desert, 25 

And in this league, which now my foes invade, 

Thou art not onely to perform thy part, 
But also mine; as when the league was made 
Thou didst at once thy self indite. 
And hold my hand while I did write. 30 

Wherefore if thou canst fail, 

Then can thy truth and I. But while rocks stand. 

And rivers stirre, thou canst not shrink or quail. 

Yea, when both rocks and all things shall disband, 

Then shalt thou be my rock and tower, 35 

And make their mine praise thy power. 

Now foolish thought go on. 
Spin out thy thread and make thereof a coat 

To hide thy shame; for thou hast cast a bone 
Which bounds on thee, and will not down thy 
throat. 40 

What for it self love once began. 
Now love and truth will end in man. 



Not found in W. 


The stern exactions of Conscience stilled by 


5. C hatting =cliaiienng, 

6. All that I see or hear is distorted. 

10. The rhyme there and sphere had already been used 
in Prayer, HI, 183, 1. 11. 

13-24. Not only does the blood of Christ, accepted in 
the Communion wine, cleanse us (my physick, 1. 15) 
so that conscience can no longer accuse, but the 
love of Christ as a moral principle is so at issue with 
the self-conscious calculations of the Law that it 
may be said to be a bill-hook or staff capable of 
turning the attack against conscience itself (my 
sword, 1. 24). 



Peace pratler, do not lowre! 
Not a fair look but thou dost call it foul. 
Not a sweet dish but thou dost call it sowre. 
Musick to thee doth howl. 
By Ustning to thy chatting fears 5 

I have both lost mine eyes and eares. 

Pratler, no more, I say! 
My thoughts must work, but like a noiselesse 

Harmonious peace must rock them all the day. 
No room for pratlers there. 10 

If thou persistest, I will tell thee 
That I have physick to expell thee. 

And the receit shall be 
My Saviour's bloud. Whenever at his board 
I do but taste it, straight it cleanseth me 15 

And leaves thee not a word; 
No, not a tooth or nail to scratch. 
And at my actions carp or catch. 

Yet if thou talkest still, 19 

Besides my physick know there 's some for thee ; 
Some wood and nails to make a staffe or bill 
For those that trouble me. 
The bloudie crosse of my deare Lord 
Is both my physick and my sword. 



Not found in W. 

Used also in The Agonie, V, 153. 

What I have obtained after years of desire I am 
now powerless to use. With this poem compare 
the close of Love Unknown, V, 183, and of The 
Pilgrimage, V, 239. 
Notes : 

5,6. These lines give some of the reasons which induced 
Herbert to accept the hving of Bemerton from his 
great kinsman. He hoped through the influence of 
the neighboring Pembroke family at Wilton House 
to strengthen his work as a parish priest. 
8. This deare end=i}ie priesthood, the aim described 

in 1.3. 
10. For myself, dear mother, I alwaies feared sickness 
more then death ; hecaiLse sickness hath made me 
unable to ^perform those offices for which I came into 
the world : Herbert's letter, 1622. 
13. Cf. Affliction, IV, 137, 1. 27. 
16. Cf . Gratefulnesse, V, 43, 1. 22. 
18. 1 still retain a strong desire for thy work, embit- 
tering my feebleness. 



What is this strange and uncouth thing ? 

To make me sigh, and seek, and faint, and die, 
Untill I had some place where I might sing. 

And serve thee; and not onely I, 
But all my wealth and familie might combine 5 
To set thy honour up as our designe. 

And then when after much delay. 

Much wrasthng, many a combate, this deare 
So much desir'd, is giv'n, to take away 

My power to serve thee! To unbend 10 

All my abilities, my designes confound. 
And lay my threatnings bleeding on the ground! 

One ague dwelleth in my bones, 

Another in my soul (the memorie 
What I would do for thee if once my grones 15 

Could be allow'd for harmonic). 
I am in all a weak disabled thing. 
Save in the sight thereof where strength doth sting. 


21. On me = against me. The edge is the means of 
wounding. Cf. Affliction, IV, 139, 1. 33. 

22. Psahn cii, 10. So Donne, Hymn to God in My Sick- 
ness, 1. 30 : 

" Be this my text, my sermon to mine own: 
Therefore, that he may raise, the Lord throws down." 

30. A weed, as in Employment, IV, 145, 1. 22, instead 
of such a flower as is described in The Flower, 
VI, 67, 1. 23. At present he is in Paradise (V, 
39), but suffers from lack of occupation. Cf. The 
Country Parson, XXXII: Even in Paradise man 
had a caUing, and how much more out of Paradise, 
when the evills which he is mm subject unto may be 
prevented, or diverted by reasonable imployment. 

36. My words = thy words made mine. 


Besides, things sort not to my will 

Ev'n when my will doth studie thy renown. 20 
Thou turnest th' edge of all things on me still, 

Taking me up to throw me down. 
So that ev'n when my hopes seem to be sped 
I am to grief alive, to them as dead. 

To have my aim, and yet to be 25 

Farther from it then when I bent my bow; 
To make my hopes my torture and the fee 

Of all my woes another wo. 
Is in the midst of delicates to need, 
And ev'n in Paradise to be a weed. 30 

Ah my deare Father, ease my smart! 
These contrarieties crush me. These crosse 
Doe winde a rope about, and cut my heart. 
And yet since these thy contradictions 
Are properly a crosse felt by thy sonne — 35 

With but foure words, my words. Thy will he done. 



Hebrews xi, 14. "The characteristic of Herbert's 
fancy is fruitfulness. The poetry, like the theology, 
of that age, put all learning into an abridgement. A 
course of lectures flowed into the rich essence of a 
single sermon. A month's seed bloomed in an ode. 
The 17th was the contradiction of the 19th century; 
the object being then to give the most thought in 
the smallest space, as now to sow the widest field 
with the frugallest corn. Herbert's Pilgrimage is 
an example. Written, probably, before Bunyan was 
born, — certainly while he was an infant, — it con- 
tains all the Progress of the Pilgrim in outline. We 
are shown the gloomy cave of Desperation, the 
Rock of Pride, the Mead of Fancy, the Copse of 
Care, the Wild Heath where the traveller is robbed 
of his gold, and the gladsome Hill that promises 
a fair prospect, but only yields a lake of brackish 
water on the topi Such a composition would hardly 
escape the notice of that Spenser of the people, who 
afterwards gave breadth and animation and figures 
to the scene:" R. A. Willmott. 



Not found in W. I place this later than Love Un- 
known because that contains no mention of coming 
death, and advances no farther than the fifth stanza 
of this. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress was pub- 
Hshed in 1678. 


Used only here, but it closely resembles that of 
Peace, IV, 173. 


Herbert's autobiography, such as he had given 
before in Affliction, IV, 135, and in Love Un- 
known, V, 179 ; and such as Tennyson gave in 
Merlin and the Gleam. 



1. The hill=ihe priesthood, which, from a boy, he 
expected to attain. 

4. Desperation= ^stTusi of himself, as shown in The 
Priesthood, IV, 169. 

5. At one time he doubts whether he is fit for the 
priesthood; at another whether the priesthood is 
fit for a man of his high breeding. 

7. He was Reader in Rhetoric at Trinity College, 
Orator of the University, and had already acquired 
a name in poetry and fine letters. 

10. Life was passing. 

11. Care's cops = bewildering woods. This and the fol- 
lowing stanza refer to the period which I have 
called The Crisis, and particularly to the experi- 
ences described in Vanitie, IV, 153, and Frailtie, 
IV, 155. 

17. A play on the double meaning of Angell=SL coin 
worth ten shillings, and a heavenly guardian. In 
the latter sense it may refer to his marriage, which 
immediately preceded his taking orders. The work 
of a friend in saving Herbert is also alluded to in 
Love Unknown, V, 181, 1. 43, and possibly in 
Peace, IV, 175, 1. 19. 



I TRAVELLED on, seeing the hill where lay 
My expectation. 
A long it was and weary way. 
The gloomy cave of Desperation 
I left on th' one, and on the other side 5 

The rock of Pride. 

And so I came to phansie's medow strow'd 
With many a flower. 
Fain would I here have made abode, 
But I was quicken'd by my houre. 10 
So to care's cops I came, and there got through 
With much ado. 

That led me to the wilde of passion, which 
Some call the wold; 
A wasted place, but sometimes rich. 15 
Here I was robb'd of all my gold 

Save one good Angell, which a friend had ti'd 

■ '^ Close to my side. 


19. The priesthood at Bemerton, which he found dis- 
appointing ; of. Love Unknown, V, 181, 183, 
1. 50-53, and The Crosse, V, 233, 1. 19-31. 

23. His parish Ufe was stagnant and tasteless. 

28. It had not proved what he had imagined in The 
Call, V, 9, 1. 2. 

31. The heavenly priesthood. 

33. Cf. The Discharge, V, 189, 1. 38-40. 

36. A chair = the sedan-chair, a noble mode of convey- 
ance, which was being introduced into England in 
Herbert's later years. Cf. Mortification, W,57, 
1. 29. 


At length I got unto the gladsome hill, 

Where lay my hope, 20 

Where lay my heart. And cKmbing still, 
When I had gain'd the brow and top, 
A lake of brackish waters on the ground 

Was all I found. 24 

With that abash'd and struck with many a sting 
Of swarming fears, 
I fell and cry'd, Alas my King ! 
Can both the way and end be tears ? 
Yet taking heart I rose, and then perceived 

I was deceiv'd; 30 

My hill was further. So I flung away. 
Yet heard a crie 
Just as I went. None goes that way 
And lives! If that be all, said I, 
After so foul a journey death is fair, 35 

And but a chair. 



The Call (p. 9) : 

4. I have adopted the reading of B. Ed. 1633 by 
manifest error reads, And siLch a. 

Providence (p. 79): 

102. For furres B. reads furre. 

Church-Rents and Schismes (p. 105) : 

In the title B. reads Church-Rents or Schisms. 
1. For chair B. reads place. 
18. For faded B. reads vaded. 
Justice (p. 117): 
10. For torturing B. reads torturing, 
BusiNESSE (p. 139) : 

29. For space B. reads spare. 
The Pulley (p. 149) : 

3. For him B. reads his. 
The Familie (p. 185) : 

3. For pyUing B. reads piding. 
The Size (p. 193): 

5. For springs B. reads strings.